Other books byAlbert Murray
Good Morning Blues
The Autobiography of Count Basie as Told to...
Count Basie (19041984), pianist, composer, and icon of big-band jazz, known for such classics as "Jumpin' at the Woodside," "Cherokee," and "One O'Clock Jump," recounts his life story to Albert Murray with all the charm and dry humor of two friends sitting at the kitchen table. Good Morning Blues is both testimony and tribute to a remarkable, rich life.
South to a Very Old Place
The highly acclaimed novelist and biographer Albert Murray tells his classic memoir of growing up in Alabama during the 1920s and 1930s in South to a Very Old Place. Intermingling remembrances of youth with engaging conversation, African-American folklore, and astute cultural criticism, it is at once an intimate personal journey and an incisive social history, informed by "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). "His perceptions are firmly based in the blues idiom, and it is black music no less than literary criticism and historical analysis that gives his work its authenticity, its emotional vigor and its tenacious hold on the intellect...[It] destroys some fashionable socio-political interpretations of growing up black."--Toni Morrison, The New York Times Book Review
The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and...
This absorbing collection of letters spans a decade in the lifelong friendship of two remarkable writers who engaged the subjects of literature, race, and identity with deep clarity and passion. The correspondence begins in 1950 when Ellison is living in New York City, hard at work on his enduring masterpiece, Invisible Man, and Murray is a professor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Mirroring a jam session in which two jazz musicians "trade twelves"—each improvising twelve bars of music around the same musical idea-their lively dialog centers upon their respective writing, the jazz they both love so well, on travel, family, the work literary contemporaries (including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway) and the challenge of racial inclusiveness that they wish to pose to America through their craft. Infused with warmth, humor, and great erudition, Trading Twelves offers a glimpse into literary history in the making—and into a powerful and enduring friendship. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Spyglass Tree
By “our premier writer about jazz and the blues...and a fictional tale spinner in the grand Southern tradition” (Washington Post Book World), The Spyglass Tree is a deeply affecting novel of elegant, lyrical reminiscence and profound sophistication about a young black man’s advent into the world of academia—an imaginary Alabama college—in the 1930s. Admist the excitement of the world of ideas and adventures with new friends, Scooter sallies into “the territory of the blues,” where recollection becomes legend. Here he learns to deal with the vicissitudes of life—the complexities of family ties and camaraderie, his sexuality, pride of excellence in school, the darker realities of history and human passion—through confrontation and improvisation, and with style and courage. “[The Spyglass Tree] strikes a perfect balance between the black folk tradition and Faulknerian rumination....One reads this very fine novel for the glissando effect of its language, the vibrancy of its characters and the unabashed pleasure Mr. Murray takes in nostalgia for its own sake...with level-headed clarity and honesty.”—The New York Times Book Review