Albert Murray (May 12, 1916 - August 18, 2013)
Born: 12th May, 1916
Died: 18th August, 2013
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Critic
Region: Alabama, New York City, New York
Notable works: "Stomping the Blues", "South to a Very Old Place", "The Omni-Americans: New Perspectives on Black Experience and American Culture"

Albert Murray Facts


Albert Murray, in full Albert Lee Murray, (born May 12, 1916, Nokomis, Alabama, U.S.--died August 18, 2013, Harlem, New York), African American essayist, critic, and novelist whose writings assert the vitality and the powerful influence of black people in forming American traditions.

Murray attended Tuskegee Institute (B.S., 1939; later Tuskegee University) and New York University (M.A., 1948); he also taught at Tuskegee. In 1943 he entered the U.S. Air Force (known then as the U.S. Army Air Forces), from which he retired as a major in 1962.

Murray's first collection of essays, The Omni-Americans: New Perspectives on Black Experience and American Culture (1970), used historical fact, literature, and music to attack false perceptions of black American life. He recorded his visit to scenes of his segregated boyhood during the 1920s in his second published work, South to a Very Old Place (1971). In Stomping the Blues (1976), Murray maintained that blues and jazz musical styles developed as affirmative responses to misery; he also explored the cultural significance of these music genres and other artistic genres in The Hero and the Blues (1973), The Blue Devils of Nada (1996), and From the Briarpatch File: On Context, Procedure, and American Identity (2001).

Murray also cowrote Count Basie's autobiography, Good Morning Blues (1985), and was active in the creation of the concert series Jazz at Lincoln Center. In addition, he published Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray (2000), a poetry collection, and a tetralogy of novels--Train Whistle Guitar (1974), The Spyglass Tree (1991), The Seven League Boots (1995), and The Magic Keys (2005).

Top 12 Albert Murray quotes

The United States is not a nation of black and white people. Any fool can see that white people are not really white, and that black people are not black.
Black and white
United states
I am not an African. I am an American.
I am
When the Negro musician or dancer swings the blues, he is fulfilling the same fundamental existential requirement that determines the mission of the poet, the priest and the medicine man.
The blues is not the creation of a crushed-spirited people. It is the product of a forward-looking, upward-striving people.
As any competent student of literary composition knows, the more natural and casual a voice sounds in print, the more likely it is to have been edited time and again.
In print
Effective stream-of-consciousness narration is the product of verbal precision, not just of literal documentation. It is decidedly not a matter of unedited free-association.
If it is properly done, the 'as told to' autobiography represents how the subject wants his story told.
Now, one can often get away with playing music by ear when it is not being recorded, but writing is another matter; its mistakes are not forgotten because they are still there to confuse us.
Jazz music, as is also the case with the old down-home spirituals, gospel and jubilee songs, jumps, shouts and moans, is essentially an American vernacular or idiomatic modification of musical conventions imported from Europe, beginning back during the time of the early settlers of the original colonies.
Jazz music
A jazz tune, melody, or composition is usually based on either a traditional twelve-bar, eight-bar, or four-bar blues chorus or on the thirty-two-bar chorus of the American popular song.
The improvisational nature of jazz musicianship is such that a truly competent performer must be prepared to function as an on-the-spot composer who is expected to contribute to the orchestration in progress, not simply to execute the score as it is written and rehearsed.
Be prepared
The juke joint, the honky tonk, and the ballroom also represent one more thing, anthropologically speaking: a ceremonial context for the male-with-female-duet dance flirtation and embrace, upon which the zoological survival of the human species has always been predicated.
Human species

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