Beliefnet
The Jazz Theologian

Red, White and Blues

On Independence Day I bought some slow gin and celebrated with Ralph Ellison.

In Ralph Ellison’s, "The Invisible Man," the narrator was fond of eating a special desert while listening to Louis Armstrong sing, "What Did I Do to Be so Black and Blue."  Ellison writes…

"Sometimes now I listen to Louis while I have my favorite dessert of vanilla ice cream and sloe gin.  I pour the red liquid over the white mound, watching it glisten and the vapor rising as Louis bends that military instrument into a beam of lyrical sound."

Red_white_and_blue750x600_1 That is how Ellison saw America–red, white and blues–the red of the sloe gin, the white of the ice cream and Armstrong singing the blues.

Red, white and blues–the native soil of this thing we call jazz.

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