Stomping the Blues pdf

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Stomping the Blues Wonderful Digest

I. SOME FUNDAMENTALS

"For Paul, Some fundamentals." That is how Albert Murray in-scribed my copy of Stomping the Blues. Here is one of his most fundamental points: "You don't stomp the blues like this [pounds fist on table]-you stomp the blues like this [snaps with pa-nache on the afterbeat]." Murray used this example all the time in interviews and on panels in order to illustrate that the blues is "stomped" with elegance, not force; with technique, not power;with joie de vivre, not rage.

The jacket copy of the first edition of this book, which Murray probably was involved with, paraphrases the book's controlling idea: "Bessie Smith owes far more to Ma Rainey than to hard luck,just as Charlie Parker owes far more to his years of apprenticeship in all-night Kansas City jam sessions than to his later sufferings.If this inte印retation seems unromantic, then Murray creates for us his own much sturdier myth. Blues music, he tells us, has al-ways been good-time music; its function has been the exorcism of despair." To an extent, this is an application of Andre Malraux's argument about the workings of the artistic process: that art, pri-marily, is a response to art, as explained in his book The Voices of Silence (1953), a monumental, profound, and idiosyncratic analysis of the visual arts that Murray studied for decades, and a work not unlike Stomping the Blues in several ways: poetic,written by a learned critic, yet not shackled by the conventions developed or expected by academic or journalistic critics of the form in question, slow and methodical to start, and difficult to put down once it starts swinging. Another point Murray considered fundamental was his reorientation of how blues relates to jazz: as a matter of the level of orchestration. Indeed, he argues that the process by which pop tunes and show tunes are recomposed as jazz tunes is "precisely" the process by which the folk blues was extended, elaborated, and refined into jazz. Stomping the Blues is fundamental to his vision of existence and a lens through which to view other aspects of culture.

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