Stomping the Blues, by Albert Murray

Posted by

ImageWith a prose as rhythmic as its subject, the essay that fills a third of this volume examines the music that germinated with New Orleans jazz bands and singers like Bessie Smith and reached fruition through such artists as Ellington and Parker. The remainder of the beautifully designed book consists of superbly reproduced photos of the musicians, their records, and their joyous fans.

Though author Murray’s dismissal of soul and folk blues and exclusion of other sub-genres is unfortunate, his text rates with the best music writing I’ve read in years. He argues convincingly that blues results primarily not from anguish and suffering but from musical tradition; it is not an expression of bad times but a finger-snapping, foot-tapping way of exorcising them. If Murray can’t convince you of this (which I doubt), just check the photos, each of which is worth a whole lot more than the proverbial thousand words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s