Jazz Imitating Life

In the swift whirl of time music is a constant, reminding us of what we were and of that toward which we aspire.  Art thou troubled?  Music will not only calm, it will ennoble thee.                                                   ~ Ralph Ellison

Note_1 living with music_Ellison

From My Jazz Bookshelf….

     I was born into the jazz life.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, I feel that it is the only culture I feel comfortable with.  There are no prerequisites .  Everyone is welcome.  It is where you will find that mixed races live in harmony.  There is a bag for everyone.  When I was 11, I had been reading for seven years.  My dad built a library in one of the bedrooms in our house on Wilton Place.  I remember being hold up in my room for hours,  Sometimes he would call or sneak up and see me sitting on my chaise by the window reading.  It was my way of living in the world.  I felt safe.   I would hear my father downstairs on the Steinway composing music at 5 am.  I would get up and would read with the sunrise giving a magical warm glow to the words on the page.  As he would hit the keys on the piano I would read according to the musical intention he was creating.  The words just blossomed on the page and my imagination grew with each stanza.  I am in  my Ralph Waldo Ellison phase.  Ellison was a musician who could see jazz as a musician as well as hear literature in his writing.  I began by reading  the Invisible Man.  It was a music score that was best expressed in fiction.  

This post is going to take a  look at:  Living with Music: Ralph Ellison’s Jazz Writings  Ralph Waldo Ellison, Author, Robert G. O’Meally, Editor Modern Library2001-  ISBN 978-0-679-64034-9.

Robert O’Meally, is the founder and director of the Center for Jazz Studies, at Columbia University in New York City.  He  collected the best of Ellison’s body of literary works that features profiles of jazz greats such as  Charlie Parker, his meditations on jazz classics, music-related selections from Ellison’s fiction. It does not matter if you consider yourself a jazz fan or aficionado this book has fiction and nonfiction flavors that cannot be ignored.  This work, presents the novelist who vividly  imparts the  intensely emotional role that music has played in the lives of  American blacks.  What resonates in my soul and heart are the words he wrote in the title essay, it was either live with music or die with noise, and we chose rather desperately to live.  It is a enlightning read and a way of seeing life through jazz eyes.  Till tomorrow.  Peace out!