Ellington's music has been not only superb entertainment but an important function of national morale citation31_ Ellison wrote in the essay "Homage to Duke Ellington on what are the parts of the essay His Birthday penned in honor of the trumpet master's 70th birthday. At Tuskegee, Ellison excelled in his music program as well as taking a particular liking to his sociology and sculpture classes and the outside classroom which Alabama provided. It includes stars like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, as well as a recording of a lecture that Ellison gave at the Library of Congress.
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In a 1958 essay, Ellison wrote that "Jimmy Rushing was not simply a local entertainer; he expressed a value, an attitude about the world for which our lives afforded no other definition. During the midst of this study, he did not lose sight of his desire to be a Renaissance Man, however, and spent time playing football, working at small jobs, and experimenting in electronics. Cite This Source, bACK, nEXT, ralph Ellison: Living With Music, as a trumpet player and lifelong jazz aficionado, Ralph Ellison saw music as an integral part of his life and wrote about it frequently. Bessie Smith "Bessie Smith might have been a 'blues queen' to society at large Ellison wrote of this singer, but in the black community "she was a priestess, a celebrant who affirmed the values of the group and man's ability to deal with chaos. As the slips of fiction and correspondence gathered here testify, all Ellison writing is jazz writing. Whether he is writing a homage to Ellington on his seventieth birthday, analyzing how the blues infuses Richard Wrights autobiography or reviewing recordings of Mahalia Jackson, Ellison is insightful while keeping the focus on what role the music plays in American culture.
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