Trading twelves: the selected letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray

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Modern Library, 2000 - Literary Collections - 237 pages
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When two jazz musicians trade twelves with each other in a jam session, one musician begins by riffing off twelve bars of music, the other musician throws the twelve bars back through his instrument, the first answers, and so on, back and forth, in an ecstatic exchange of ideas and emotions. So it is with these letters, joyful music created by the exchanges between two dear friends. Reading these letters, you sense that each man was the other's lifeline, that the emotional and intellectual companionship they found in each other was unique in their lives. They spill it all out here--their struggles, frustrations, ambitions, fears; thoughts on literary gossip, jazz, photography--and the result is literary history, and a book that reminds you what friendship is all about.

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Trading twelves: the selected letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray

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In jazz, two musicians are said to be "trading twelves" when they trade feelings and ideas by alternating riffs of 12 bars of music. In much the same manner, Ellison and Murray, in letters written ... Read full review

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