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By Hazard Adams

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I also tuned in to the Benny Goodman band and others, coming from somewhere in the East, on late Saturday afternoons. My first records were Duke Ellingtons, acquired perhaps by my father, who was partial to Ellington’s music, which was different. ” So my musical education began with things like “Drop Me Off in Harlem” and “Baby, When You Ain’t There,” the classically simple lines of which were sung by the great trumpeter Cootie Williams. These records were made in 1932 or 33, but came to me in 1939 or 40.

Now she would be regarded as racist. She made up fictions of the life of the times. She imagined from the evidence of ruins and artifacts the various dwellings, costumes, and implements. She characterized the great political and intellectual figures, the battles and routes of conquest. She retold in condensed form the great mythic stories and sometimes inferred what their sources were: the origins of the gods, the Minotaur, Jason, Theseus, and Oedipus. She told the story of the wrath of Achilles and the wanderings of Odysseus.

Beyond mastery of these arts, he was a builder of hand looms (one for my mother that I learned to operate), a meteorologist, a teacher of how to construct giant relief maps of the continents, a hypnotist, a believer in and practitioner of mental telepathy and other occult sciences, an expert gardener, specializing in roses, a talented musician, and a painter. Indeed, he believed that he had been in unconscious communion with William Blake, revealed by the presence of certain “wiry bounding lines” in his own work similar to some in Blake’s.

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