I can be contacted via email at paulpdevlin@gmail.com / Twitter.

Table of Contents
1. Edited Books
2. Peer-reviewed Articles and Chapters
3. Cultural Journalism and Consulting
4. Academic Credentials
5. Teaching
6. Presentations
7. Works In Progress

Edited Books


Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 4.59.51 PM
Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Blues and Jazz (2016)
University of Minnesota Press | Amazon | Review in The Nation
LOA coverLibrary of America #284: Albert Murray: Collected Essays and Memoirs (fall 2016)
co-edited with Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Library of America | Amazon

Rifftide hi res cover
Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones as told to Albert Murray
University of Minnesota Press | Amazon | Trailer

Praise for Rifftide:
“Devlin does the rare work of presenting the intersection of musicianship and folklore in a volume that belongs in any serious jazz or African American culture collection.” —Library Journal

“With a pronounced irascible streak to match his heterodox approach to drumming, Papa Jo Jones (1911-85) was an ideal candidate to star in the kind of book that delights jazz fans: the straight-talking, defiantly espousing firsthand record. Anyone interested in authenticity of voice is going to be on the verge of fist-pumping the air throughout, or else exclaiming, ‘You tell it like it is, baby,’ as if partaking in a call-and-response with the book.” —New York Times Book Review

“With Rifftide, Devlin, Murray, Jones and Schaap have given us a wonderful resource for charting an underexplored section of the cultural map.” –Walton Muyumba, Oxford American

“Albert Murray has helped keep the incomparable Jo Jones alive through the voice of Count Basie in Good Morning Blues and fictionally inThe Magic Keys, but in Rifftide, thanks to the persistence of editor Paul Devlin, we get to hear Jo himself in all his dynamic, adrenalized, anecdotal, no-bull glory—riffing with words as heartily as he did on the hi-hat.” —Gary Giddins, author of Warning Shadows and Jazz

“Rifftide is a gem of a book about one of the forgotten founding fathers of Swing. Jo Jones was more than a jazz genius—he was also one of the great characters and chroniclers of American life during the Swing Era. Based on extensive oral interviews and years of painstaking research, Rifftide is a terrific source not only for students of jazz, but also American history, African-American studies, linguistics, and sociology.” —Debby Applegate, author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher

“Papa Jo Jones is Brer Rabbit with a drum kit and opposable thumbs. In his own spellbinding voice, musical history and philosophy come alive on the page.” —Mat Johnson, author ofPym

“Magique.”  —Bulletin du HCF (France)

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Chapters


“Jazz Autobiography and the Cold War.” Popular Music and Society 38.2 (Spring 2015).

“Ann Petry, Ralph Ellison, and Two Representations of Live Jazz Performance.” American Studies with American Studies International 54.3 (Fall 2015).

“Albert Murray and Visual Art,” in Barbara Baker (ed.), Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2010.

Twelve articles (Eric Reed, Calvin Peete, Barzillai Lew, Sly Stone, Slide Hampton, Lillian Harris Dean, George W. Johnson, Valaida Snow, Lou Rawls, Leon Huff, Bob McAdoo, Jodie “Butterbeans” Edwards) in Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (eds.), African American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Cultural Journalism and Consulting

My work has appeared in Slate, The Root, The Daily Beast, The New York Times Book Review, San Francisco Chronicle, Popular Mechanics, Antioch Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Bomb, Capital New York, and other publications. Some of these pieces drew quite a bit of attention.

I have been a consultant for Jazz at Lincoln Center, D.C. Moore Gallery, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. I co-curated the exhibition “Ralph Ellison: A Man and His Records” at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, which ran from March-September 2014.

Academic Credentials


Full c.v. available upon request.

Ph.D.: Stony Brook University, 2014. Dissertation: “The Evasion of Segregation in African American Modernist Fiction: Sound and Subjectivity in the Work of Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Albert Murray, and Percival Everett.” Dissertation Advisor: Rowan Ricardo Phillips

M.A.: St. John’s University, 2004. Thesis: “The Impossible Sublime: Wittgenstein, Hemingway, Emerson.”

B.A.: St. John’s University, 2002



U.S. Merchant Marine Academy: 2015-

St. John’s University: 2004-

Stony Brook University: 2006-2010 and summer 2013



selection of past events/presentations:

“The Archive as Foil for Parodies of Power in Mat Johnson’s Pym.” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Hartford, Connecticut, March 18, 2016.

“The Form and Feeling of Albert Murray’s Fiction: Adventures in Jazz and Genre” Symposium on Albert Murray. Columbia University Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University, February 13, 2016

“Intersections of History and Literature: In the Heart of the Sea, The Whaleship Essex, Herman Melville, and Moby-Dick.” United States Merchant Marine Academy, January 13, 2016. (with Dr. Jennifer Speelman)

“The Barbershop History of the Ku Klux Klan’s 1923 March on Tuskegee: Trajectories of Heroism and Black Power in Albert Murray’s The Spyglass Tree.” Modern Language Association Convention, Austin, Texas, January 7, 2016

Roundtable panelist on “Teaching Civic Jazz.” Symposium on the book Civic Jazz, sponsored by the University of Chicago Press and Brigham Young University, National Jazz Museum in Harlem, June 27, 2015

“Albert Murray’s Balance.” A Tribute to Albert Murray, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY, November 14, 2014

“Ann Petry’s Influence on Ralph Ellison: Music and Memory in ‘Solo on the Drums’ and Three Days Before the Shooting.” Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS) Conference, Oklahoma City University, March 8, 2014

“Visible Man: Ralph Ellison on Film.” The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, March 11, 2014. (host of screening of rare films and interview of actor Colman Domingo)

Roundtable panelist on “What was African American Literature?: A Roundtable Discussion of Kenneth Warren’s Book.” St. John’s University, Queens, New York, February 24, 2014

“The Queens of the Blues.” Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY, November 2, 2013. (with Greg Thomas)

Guest lecturer on Albert Murray at Aryeh Tepper’s graduate seminar “The Problematic Power of Music,” CUNY Graduate Center, February 14 and May 9, 2013.

“The Creation of Rifftide.” Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, April 24, 2013.

Guest lecture on Rifftide to Kern Jackson’s senior seminar in African American literature, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, April 23, 2013.

Speaker at Tribute to Jo Jones, with music by Jabo Starks. Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed, Mobile, Alabama, April 22, 2013. Sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation and Mobile Arts Council

“What Was Jazz Autobiography? History, Genre, Theory.” The English Alumni Lecture Sponsored by the John S. Jemison Visiting Professorship in the Humanities, University of Alabama-Birmingham, September 26, 2012.

“The Innovative Drumming Style of Papa Jo Jones.” The Harvard Club of New York, May 4, 2012. (with music by Kenny Washington)

“The Visual Dimension of Albert Murray’s Aesthetics.” D.C. Moore Gallery, New York, NY, January 26, 201. (with Greg Thomas)

“The Paris Briar Patch of Albert Murray and Romare Bearden.” Paris Blues Revisited symposium, Jazz at Lincoln Center, January 21, 2012.

“Music in the Work of Ralph Ellison.” The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, June 19, 201. (with Loren Schoenberg)

Roundtable panelist on “Jo Jones at 100.” The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, December 3, 2011.

Listening Party for Rifftide. Jazz at Lincoln Center, November 17, 2011. (with Ken Druker)

“Albert Murray’s ‘Mobile’ Imagination in South to a Very Old Place. Mobile Public Library, Mobile, Alabama, March 17, 2010.

“Albert Murray’s Tuskegee in The Spyglass Tree and Beyond.” Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, March 17, 2010.

“Wilson, Bergson, Deleuze: Duration and Memory in Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf.” August Wilson: The Second Half of the Cycle, University of Kentucky-Lexington, April 8, 2008

“Albert Murray and Visual Art.” Symposium on Albert Murray. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, January 23, 2008.

“James Brown’s Richard Nixon.” Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, Illinois, December 27, 2007.

“The Politics of Trade Imbalance in Michael Drayton’s Poly-Olbion.” UMASS Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference, Amherst, Massachusetts, November 10, 2007.

“‘Dublin’ Meanings: The United States South in Finnegans Wake.” Modern Language Association Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 29, 2006.

Works In Progress

  • Scholarly study of Ralph Ellison’s representations of sound
  • Volume II of Albert Murray’s works for Library of America (fiction and poetry)
  • Article on Wallace Stevens and Levinas