The Seven League Boots

The Seven League Boots➮ [Read] ➪ The Seven League Boots By Albert Murray ➺ – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk In the triumphant concluding volume of the trilogy that began with Whistle Guitar and The Spyglass Tree Albert Murray gives us what is at once an African American coming of age novel and a pitch perfe In the triumphant concluding volume of the trilogy that began with Whistle Guitar and The Spyglass Tree Albert Murray gives us what is at once an African American coming of age novel and a pitch perfect evocation of a touring jazz band at the height The Seven PDF/EPUB ² of the Swing era Murray's hero Scooter graduates from an Alabama college and becomes a bass player in an ensemble headed by the legendary Bossman As Scooter criss crosses the United States he and his bandmates find themselves retracing Sherman's march to the sea the Underground Railroad and the conuest of the West The Seven League Boots is nothing less than a jazz epic so vivid high spirited and infectious that readers will tap their feet to the music of its proseA work of joy of celebrationa great work of art a rich and moving song of the human spirit Los Angeles TimesA fictional tale spinner in the grand Southern tradition Washington Post Book World. Albert Murray probably wrote someplace why he titled the third book in his semi autobiographical trilogy “The Seven League Boots” but I haven’t found it yet The definition of the term at least by consensus on the internet makes sense Seven League Boots are boots of myth and fairy tale that enable their wearer to take seven league strides about 245 miles Googling the phrase even uncovered a 1950s newspaper advertisement from the American Trucking Association arguing that the trucking industry is “Today’s Seven League Bootsovertaking your high cost of living” The wonder of traveling great distances in very little time is ubiuitous in Murray’s third triumphant novel His protagonist Scooter faithfully stops amidst his various Swing Era adventures to assess his distance from the Spyglass Tree back in Gasoline Point not only in terms of miles but in terms of history personal development achievement and enlightenment It is tantamount to an involuntary reflex for Scooter to credit the folks back home who put him on the right path and encouraged him along the way especially the various “fairy godmothers” who intervened at pivotal moments just like those in the stories he heard when he was a boy The title choice could also be a nod to Richard Halliburton’s book published in 1935 detailing his swashbuckling adventures all over the globe Back in Scooter’s childhood detailed in the first book “Train Whistle Guitar” Scooter and his best friend Buddy Marshal explored the canebrakes woods and rivers of Gasoline Point imagining themselves to be “explorers and discoverers and Indian scouts as well as sea pirates and cowboys and African spear fighters not to mention the two schemingest gamblers and back alley ramblers this side of Philmayork In The Seven League Boots Scooter achieves his childhood dreams of adventure and exploration crisscrossing the country with a top shelf jazz band living the high life in Hollywood and touring Europe At one point during his European jaunt Scooter contemplated the Americans who’d visited Europe before him the veterans of World War I he’d listened to back in the barbershop in Gasoline Point other famous musicians and the Lost Generation of writers particularly Hemingway That moment reminded me of another American novel written by another iconic lover of Jazz Jack Kerouac Comparing Kerouac’s Desolation Angels and Albert Murray’s The Seven League Boots for example illuminates the potentially enormous contribution to America Murray’s works could be if they were only read The jazz in The Seven League Boots is the jazz of Duke Ellington the Swing Era and big bands; while the jazz in Kerouac’s many works emerged shortly thereafter in an age of the avant garde improvisation and Bebop think Thelonious Monk Both writers neither of whom were musicians themselves wrote like the jazz they loved Murray’s prose is smooth blues filled shouting and cool Kerouac’s is frantic ecstatic dissonant and tangential Both books follow their protagonists across our country and across the globe pay homage to those who came before and preach the gospel of jazz but only Murray’s provides young Americans with a game plan for success in every aspect of the word We could have used another forty years of Kerouac We are fortunate to have enjoyed 97 years of Murray This triumphant final novel of the trilogy riffs on hard work respect for elders imagination and love of country in the context of a young black man making his way in Jim Crow America Have your students read Kerouac and then transition to Murray Have Thelonious open the set for the Duke Listen Schoolboy he kept repeating during my first month or so in the band this stuff we play for this band is not just music This stuff is life Schoolboy Life LIFE Man I mean I'm not just talking about cutting some dots Man I'm talking about making them dots mean something p 322Amen Murray is definitely a 20th century novelist perhaps a first half of the 20th century novelist writing on the cusp of the 21st century Ernest Hemingway Pablo Picasso Louis Armstrong James Joyce and I’m guessing John Dos Passos are his influences and his desired peers The Seven League Boots is the third volume in what I thought was a coming of age trilogy but two years ago a fourth volume The Magic Keys was published Murray was born in 1916 in rural Alabama meaning he came of age himself during the Great Depression and Jim Crow and not incidentally during the heyday of a shadow culture of black excellence where the Talented Tenth were identified and giving community support to find their way to the best in available education so they might at least return to the community as teachers ministers doctors and lawyers or perhaps assume a national role as the scholars artists politicians and leaders who led the next wave in the fight for advancement in American society Scooter is Murray’s stand in and in this volume he has graduated college and landed the job of replacement bassist for the nation’s greatest jazz band think Ellington meets Basie that good and that influential a leader He has plans of going on to graduate school but first wants to explore avenues and earn cash to help him get all the way to his doctorate As in the previous novels he learns much from his mentors sponsors and lovers travels the country with the band for a year leaves them to try his hand as a solo musician in LA for a spell becomes involved with a Hollywood movie star think Katherine Hephburn and travels to Europe He ends his grand tour with plans to re settle in New York after a down home visit Murray is a polymath and writes brilliantly if sometimes preciously about books food film sports jive politics art and of course jazz music His Joycean experiments with prose rise no higher in inventiveness than Dos Passos’s in USA but perhaps because their appearance is linked to the music and language of jazz is supple and effective The book is short on plot but moves like a picaresue novel—less a story of overcoming challenge than making a wondrous journey Success seems pre determined but except for the too freuent and cloying reminiscing about his too well loved former college roommate works It is a grand tour and I’ll be beginning The Magic Keys shortly 1996? really that late? I guess it means he wrote vols 2 and 3 much later than the first one; this could be expected to make him nostalgic trying to bring the period and people of his youth to life to remember them record them He gives brief life stories of a great many characters seems to me wanting to show the richness of communities of people he knew in his lifetime Which he succeeds in doingI wanted to believe this third vol was autobiographical but after checking Murray's bio on Wikipedia I think it can't be very autobiographical though he must surely be drawing on lots and lots of people he knew well in real lifeGREAT BOOK great readIn the triumphant concluding volume of the trilogy that began with Whistle Guitar and The Spyglass Tree Albert Murray gives us what is at once an African American coming of age novel and a pitch perfect evocation of a touring jazz band at the height of the Swing era Murray's hero Scooter graduates from an Alabama college and becomes a bass player in an ensemble headed by the legendary Bossman As Scooter criss crosses the United States he and his bandmates find themselves retracing Sherman's march to the sea the Underground Railroad and the conuest of the West The Seven League Boots is nothing less than a jazz epic so vivid high spirited and infectious that readers will tap their feet to the music of its proseMurray was not into Black Rage and dwelling on racist incidents and apparently he was criticized by many because of this I can see both points of view In any case even though Murray seldom refers to racist incidents and only a couple times addresses the topic at all most of the book makes me very aware of the great distance between my narrow provincial small town midwestern culture and Murray's culture among some groups or strata of African Americans So many words and expressions used in the book I recognize right away have meanings over and above the meanings I am able to assign them eg a person 'signifying' seems to have a special meaning The way people interact the way they talk to each other than just the words used all the unsaid understood things underneath Of course there must be many subcultures in the country that are eually strange and closed to me; maybe it's precisely because Murray does such a great job of opening it up showing it that lets me see the gapBy the way unlike the first volume this book is not written in any kind of dialect barring a few bits of conversationThe detail and depth of the discussions of the music played by the band in this book are incredible Murray did spend many years writing music reviews of this kind of music so he really did know a lot about it I sure have missed out on a lot by not being well acuainted with this kind of music or most other kinds for that matter even though I think of myself as someone who enjoys music It's a fascinating readThe 'ancestral imperatives' are a theme in this narrative Seems to refer to expectations of the community that raised him to make his lifeachievements a credit to that community and maybe even a 'credit to the race' not his words Schoolteachers college teachers family other members of the community THEIR expectations of him I think I think it's in connection with the 'ancestral imperatives' that he also says being an answer to the old folks' prayers For Murray or at least the main character of this series the ancestral imperatives are a big force in his life not exactly a guiding source but a consciousness an awareness This volume has many references to 'down home' people and events described in volume 1I'm curious who the Bossman is modeled after Both Duke Ellington and Count Basie are mentioned several times in the narrative but not appearing but surely one or both are used for Bossman?? Also who would the Hollywood movie star Scooter lives with for a time be resembling? One reader suggests Katherine Hepburn could be I was a bit less interested in the last uarter of the book that went into this movie star and the wealthy Swiss aristocrat with great knowledge of jazz and blues that she felt she learned so much from and that she introduced Scooter to who was eually impressed; and then Scooter's few weeks in Paris mentioning practically every Paris boulevard he walked on Not real sure what the function of this last uarter of the book was; it's so different from the traveling blues band which was just so wonderful and amazingSome nice insights in the last part in the pros and cons of an American esp a brownskin emigrating to live in Europe eg Paris Also reflections on the difference between playing bluesswing to a French audience and to an American audience anyway one that grew up with the musicBrownskin is the term most often used in this volume for what today we often call 'black'Here's a nice description of the BossmanHe stood up and came down out of the control booth walking his crotch airing knee loosening back straightening shoulder adjusting sporty limp walk and took his place in the center of the studioAll I can say is that as far as I was concerned the way that band played music was the way I had come to think about music What I heard when I heard that band was not only the sound that went with the way things looked and felt but also the sound of how I already felt about things It was the sound euivalent of whispering to yourself 'The sound not only of my blues bedeviled situation but also of my aspirations my fears and frustrations and my celebrations and exhilarations' p 303Words I don't knowVAMP noun and verb'Every phrase of the music should be like a jive uotation from the signifying monkey Very uniue writing style I can see how it mimics jazz and music but it was tough going at timesthe story really waffled and I think this book was about the stylized writing and historical musings the main character seemed very weak to me Felt too long was a bit of a struggle to push on to the end Had a hard time with this book Just couldn't get into the story which I found to be dull This is on my shelf to read again so I might like it better the second time

The Seven League Boots PDF ä The Seven  PDF/EPUB ²
  • Paperback
  • 384 pages
  • The Seven League Boots
  • Albert Murray
  • English
  • 02 December 2015
  • 9780679758587