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Albert Murray

In his 1970 classic The Omni-Americans, Albert Murray(1916 2013) took aim at protest writers and social scientists whoaccentuated the pathology of race in American life. Againstnarratives of marginalization and victimhood, Murray argued thatblack art and culture, particularly jazz and blues, stand at the veryheadwaters of the American mainstream, and that much of whatis best in American art embodies the blues-hero tradition a heritage of grace, wit, and inspired improvisation in the face ofadversity. Murray went on to refine these ideas in The Blue Devilsof Nada and From the Briarpatch File, and all three landmark collectionsof essays are gathered here for the first time, togetherwith Murray s memoir South to a Very Old Place, his brilliantlecture series The Hero and the Blues, his masterpiece of jazz criticismStomping the Blues, and eight previously uncollected pieces."
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About the Author

Henry Louis Gates Jr., co-editor, is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Gates has authored or coauthored twenty-one books and created fifteen documentary films. He is the editor of two other volumes in the Library of America series, Frederick Douglass: Autobiographies and, with William L. Andrews, Slave Narratives. Paul Devlin, co-editor, teaches English at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and has published essays and criticism in many periodicals. He is the editor of Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues (2016) and Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones, as told to Albert Murray (2011), a finalist for the Jazz Journalists Association's book award.


"Albert Murray's best nonfiction has been gathered in a plump and welcome volume from the Library of America. . . . His writing about racism can prickle your skin. . . . To paraphrase Murray's praise of Ellison's Invisible Man, reading this book is like watching someone take a 12-bar blues song and score it for a full orchestra." -- Dwight Garner, The New York Times

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