A young music…

September 22, 2016

otto-dix-pragerstrasse

Jazz seeps into words—spelled out words. Nelson Algren is influenced by jazz. Ralph Ellison is, too. Sartre, too. Jacques Prévert. Most of the best writers today are. Look at the end of the Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Me as the public, my dot in the middle—it was fifty years ago, the first time I heard the Blues on Independence Avenue in Kansas City. Then State Street in Chicago. Then Harlem in the twenties with J. P. and J. C. Johnson and Fats and Willie the Lion and Nappy playing piano—with the Blues running all up and down the keyboard through the ragtime and the jazz. House rent party cards. I wrote The Weary Blues:

Downing a drowsy syncopated tune . . . . . . etc. . . . .

Shuffle Along was running then – the Sissle and Blake tunes. A little later Runnin’ Wild and the Charleston and Fletcher and Duke and Cab. Jimmie Lunceford, Chick Webb, and Ella. Tiny Parham in Chicago. And at the end of the Depression times, what I heard at Minton’s. A young music—coming out of young people. Billy—the male and female of them—both the Eckstein and the Holiday—and Dizzy and Tad and the Monk. Some of it came out in poems of mine in Montage of a Dream Deferred later. Jazz again putting itself into words.

Langston Hughes
Jazz as Communication

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