New York Times: The Blues? Overcoming Hard Times Through Swinging Elegance

By Nate Chinen
New York Times

Murray_Murray coverThe first sentence uttered by Albert Murray in “Murray Talks Music,” an insightful new book published by the University of Minnesota Press, is a concise distillation of his views on the blues. He’s speaking in 1994 with the jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, who asks a leading question about the primary motive of a blues musician.

“Well, the objective of the blues musician is to get rid of the blues,” Mr. Murray answers, “and of course you stomp the blues not with utmost violence but with elegance.”

The remark strikes a resounding chord for anyone familiar with Mr. Murray’s work, especially his landmark book, “Stomping the Blues.” And it points toward a related idea, that this elegance finds truest expression in an aesthetic of swinging resilience — which is to say, in jazz.

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