Broadway World San Diego
Ron Bierman
February 21, 2019

The La Jolla Music Society continued its eclectic 50th anniversary season with “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” a multimedia concert at the Balboa Theatre featuring music made popular by author Ralph Ellison’s favorite artists including Duke EllingtonLouis Armstrong, and Thelonious Monk. Ellison loved jazz. He often wrote about it, and it plays an important role in Invisible Man, his best known work. Jazz influenced his approach to life. He said, “The real secret of the game is to make life swing.”

The two-hour concert was preceded by Robert John Hughes‘ interview of Robert O’Meally, a Columbia professor of jazz studies and author of Living with Music: Ralph Ellison’s Jazz Writings. O’Meally’s combination of audience-friendly delivery and knowledge of jazz and Ellison’s depiction of racial discrimination were a perfect prelude to the concert that followed.