"Before Ralph Ellison became one of America's greatest writers, he was a musician and a student of jazz. The author of Invisible Man wrote widely and brilliantly on his favorite music for more than fifty years, immersing himself in the lives and works of America's musicians, some of whom were his close friends. Ellison is, in fact, perhaps the most important jazz analyst we have. In Living with Music, celebrated jazz authority Robert G. O'Meally has collected the very best of Ellison's writings on this subject - each selection vibrant, insightful, and bursting with Ellison's love of the music - in this unique and original anthology."--BOOK JACKET.
Whether he is writing a homage to Ellington on his 70th birthday, analyzing how the blues infuses Richard Wright's autobiography or reviewing recordings of Mahalia Jackson, Ellison is insightful while keeping the focus on what role the music plays in American culture.