In this classic work of American music writing, renowned critic Albert Murray argues beautifully and authoritatively that “the blues as such are synonymous with low spirits. Not only is its express purpose to make people feel good, which is to say in high spirits, but in the process of doing so it is actually expected to generate a disposition that is both elegantly playful and heroic in its nonchalance.”
In Stomping the Blues Murray explores its history, influences, development, and meaning as only he can. More than two hundred vintage photographs capture the ambiance Murray evokes in lyrical prose. Only the sounds are missing from this lyrical, sensual tribute to the blues.
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Albert Murray (1916–2013), author of thirteen books, including Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues, Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones, and Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie, all from the University of Minnesota Press. He was a renowned jazz historian, novelist, and social and cultural theorist. He cofounded Jazz at Lincoln Center in 1987.
Paul Devlin is editor of Murray Talks Music and Rifftide, a finalist for the Jazz Journalists Association’s book award. He is coeditor (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.) of the Library of America’s edition of Albert Murray’s work. He teaches at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.Review:
"Murray is possessed of the poet’s language, the novelist’s sensibility, the essayist’s clarity, the jazzman’s imagination, the gospel singer’s depth of feeling."—The New Yorker
"Insightful musical judgments, soulful social history, amusing anecdotes, and the most elegant prose this side of Ralph Ellison."—Village Voice
"A flamboyant, insightful examination and evocation of the sources, styles, and mythologies of blues music."—Newsweek
"One fine lyrical history of the music. Murray demonstrates the central role of blues/jazz in American culture, telling us about the nature of our past, present and future: which of course is exactly what the blues is."—San Francisco Review of Books
"Beautifully illustrated with vivid period photos, LP covers, and broadsides of black jazz icons, Stomping the Blues represents the zenith of Murray’s writing on the subject."—Rolling Stone
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