I was born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi, an area immersed in a relaxed coastal culture and a vibrant jazz and blues heritage. Gulfport is located right off the Gulf of Mexico and less than an hour from New Orleans, Louisiana. Living near the Gulf, heavily influenced my childhood, I would spend weekends at the beach, and long hours traveling to distant islands far from the coast I called home. The music you would hear at the beach were always from timeless Americana artist; such as, Bob Dylan and Jonny Cash. My parents, not musicians themselves, were infatuated with the music of the late 1980’s from artists like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Journey. My particular favorite artist from that time period was Queen, and my love for rhapsody
Combining a love for music and a personal history of racism, segregation, poverty and drugs in 1940’s Harlem, James Baldwin tells a story about Sonny, a blues loving composer with a dark history, living in Harlem in the early 1900’s. In the story “Sonny’s Blues” we meet the narrator and his brother and learn about the hardships of their lives, including the loss of their parents and a lifelong struggle with heroin addiction. As Sonny grows up in a racial charged borough of New York City he learns how to play the piano and channels his loss and suffering into music that provides an escape for others. Baldwin utilizes symbolism, flashbacks and antithesis to propose the idea that people can get through the trials and tribulations of life by being their brother’s keeper and looking out
In James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is told from Sonny's brother point of view the "narrator." This story is about the hardships of black individuals that faced discrimination, unemployment, etc. The story starts of with the two brothers being separated, one living by himself and one stuck in jail. As Adorno writes " intramusical tensions are the unconscious phenomena of social tensions" (57). This article ties in along with its musical form, and its many other forms of social aspects in James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues." In the short story jazz explorers a mutual bond between the "human connection
The electric guitar helped transformed country music and blues in many ways. For starters, one of the first times we saw the use of an electric guitar was Leon McAuliffe played his in the 1939 's. At this time, this was still considered a novelty. It was great that we had risk takers him in that time who didn 't follow the norms, because if if weren 't for people like him, these things may have never taken off and music may have not progressed to the way we have come to know and love it today. This in some ways paved the way for country music, and later on more types of music to introduce electric guitar into their bands. another example which involves blues is Muddy Waters. He used the electric guitar so that he could be heard over all the
Using his writing as a form of self-expression, James Baldwin, an African American author, spent his life seeking to reveal the cruel reality of African American men. “Sonny Blues” Baldwin’s short fiction, was published in 1957 and takes place during the Harlem Renaissance. The literary work tells the story of Sonny and his brother (an unnamed narrator), as they seek to understand how to navigate the delicate and dangerous waters of familial relationships, their role in society and themselves. However, it is not until the end of the story when Sonny’s brother narrates the powerful, melodic sound of Sonny’s blues that he acknowledges his own pain. It is during his epiphany, when he finally begins to understand Sonny’s pain and the pain of every generation who came before him and after him. Baldwin’s acknowledgement as he declares, “I knew, no matter what anybody said, that the future I faced, was not the future they faced”
The article discusses the view Frederick Douglass has regarding slave music and how it represents the core of slavery. Stuckey states that there is a link between the slave spirituals and the advent of the blues. He also investigates the influence Douglass had on Du Bois. Du Bois idea regarding the beginnings of slave music has a direct lineage back to Frederick Douglass accounts according to Stuckey. Douglass did not discern a difference between the music heard within the “Ring Shout” and the anguish that rose from the fields as the slaves sang away the tedious day of field labor. Stuckey draws a comparison in regards to how Du Bois and Douglass viewed the origins and the slave spiritual, the connection to religion and eventual evolution
What is the Blues? In the words of B.B. King, “Blues is a simple music and I’m a simple man” (qtd. in King and Ritz). From its simple and primitive origins, not only has the Blues affected culture throughout the Deep South, but Southern culture has had a strong influence on the creation of the Blues and its musicians.
Blues music as a genre and form was developed by African Americans in the south of the United States at the end of the 19th century. The genre has origins in many cultures such as in African music, African-American work songs and European-American folk music. Blues music incorporates field hollers, shouts, chants, etc. The blues form, found in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, and also the twelve-bar blues structure, which is the most common feature.
In the article, “Blues as a Literary Theme,” Gene Bluestein asserts that the theme of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is the blues. Not in the literal sense of the feeling, but in the sense of the musical genre and all that it has to offer. Through emphasizing the American mold “without a past or anterior folklore which will serve to define his national values and literary expression,” Bluestein argues that the narrator fit this mold and, therefore, depicted a lot of bluesy ideals. In other words, he argues that the narrator of Invisible Man incorporates little of his past life to show his creative expression through speech, and this parallels with the ideal American man that is emphasized in blues music. Yet, the ideals that were shown in the book and found in blues music are best shown through the author’s own words. Bluestein cites Ellison’s definition of blues as, “an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness . . . As a form, the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically” (Bluestein). In making this comment, Bluestein is showing through Ellison’s words the similarity between the novel and the genre that it is a piece that shows someone’s own
Originating from African Americans residing in the deep south, blues music began to spread. Chicago bloomed with blues and became the roots for this style of music. The use of pathos and ethos allows the author to delve into the Stones and how they made a name for African American musicians. He uses direct quotes from blues musicians, like Muddy Waters, to provide an emotional attachment to the struggles of African American musicians during this time. He also provides a detailed background with interviews to provide a glimpse into their life and credibility. In the Rolling Stone magazine, the author, Brian Hiatt, uses pathos and ethos to successfully develop the article regarding the roots of blues music and how it has been reimagined today with the release of the new album “Blue and Lonesome” by the Rolling Stones.
“Jazz is a complete lifestyle, something that you feel, something that you live.” (Ray Brown). In his short story, “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin tells the story of a young jazz musician, and tries to capture the lifestyle described by jazz bassist Ray Brown in his character Sonny. Baldwin constantly limits the potential of Sonny as a character by placing him in situations that defy his personality, but make him a believable character because they are similar to experience of actual jazz musicians.
Baldwin uses symbols such as ice, lightness and darkness, and jazz music to add more depth and meaning to “Sonny’s Blues.” Throughout the whole story, jazz music plays a major role in defining the characters and culture of Harlem, which is overwhelmed by drugs, poverty, and racism. Jazz music has a different meaning to each of the characters of the story. For the narrator it is a reminder of Sonny’s drug addiction, because he believes that a musician needs to get high in order to play music. However, for Sonny it is confortable to him, he loves to listen and play the music. It is an escape for Sonny, the one positive thing in his life. The twist in the story is that the jazz music is what helps the brothers reconnect. When the narrator goes to the club to watch his brother play and he finally
Sonny’s Blues incorporates racial frustration, self-expression, avoidance, lightness/darkness and symbolic nature of music. Baldwins descriptive mental images gives readers a sense of the time frame the characters are in. With our understanding of the setting we are able to understand how life was like in the 1940s and why the theme of racism plays a factor in these characters lives. Through this short story Baldwin manages to show pain ,and hardships and the journey that is needed to transcend from
Close your eyes and try to imagine a melding the history of the Irish and Scottish tunes, of the twang of country music, and the reverence of a gospel message. Enter a touch of the blues and the spirit of generations who played music to express themselves with this unique genre of music. Each of these components brought with it instruments steeped with tradition. Country music built the foundation with the guitar and bass guitar, the Scottish and Irish influences added the mandolin. The Africa American 2/4 beat contributes the banjo and the washboard adds the finishing folk music touch. This church type music combined with the blues is speaks from the soul. The expressive melodies based on simple tunes and intricate harmonies create a
Due to the reputation of Herbie Hancock, there are publications about him, ranging from books, journals, interviews to dissertations. Topics of these literatures cover almost everything about him from Herbie Hancock to his language of music.