If not for a stint in reform school, young Louis Armstrong might never have become a musician. It was a teacher at the Colored Waifs? Home who gave him a cornet, promoted him to band leader, and saw talent in the tough kid from the even tougher New Orleans neighborhood called Storyville. But it was Louis Armstrong?s own passion and genius that pushed jazz into new and exciting realms with his amazing, improvisational trumpet playing. His seventy-year life spanned a critical time in American music as well as black history.
Louis Armstrong has been the subject of countless biographies and music histories. Yet scant attention has been paid to the remarkable array of writings he left behind. Louis Armstrong: In His Own Words introduces readers to a little-known facet of this master trumpeter,band leader, and entertainer. Based on extensive research through the Armstrong archives, this important volume includes some of his earliest letters, personal correspondence with one of his first biographers in 1943-44, autobiographical writings, magazine articles, and essays. Here are Armstrong'sown thoughts on his life and career--from poverty in New Orleans to playing in the famous cafes, cabarets, and saloons of Storyville, from his big break in 1922 with the King Oliver band to his storming of New York, from his breaking of colorbarriers in Hollywood to the infamous King of the Zulus incident in 1949, and finally, to his last days in Queens, New York. Along the way Armstrong recorded touching portraits of his times and offered candid, often controversial, opinions about racism, marijuana, bebop, and other jazz artists suchas Jelly Roll Morton and Coleman Hawkins. Indeed, these writings provide a balanced portrait of his life as a musician, entertainer, civil rights activist, and cultural icon. Armstrong's idiosyncratic use of language and punctuation have been preserved to give the reader an unvarnished portrayal ofthis compelling artist. This volume also includes introductions to the writings, as well as an annotated index of names and places significant to Armstrong's life.
Louis Armstrong was not only a virtuoso musician, singer, composer and actor, but also a dedicated writer who typed hundreds of letters and reminiscences, carrying a typewriter with him on his constant travels around the globe. The man never stopped creating, and constantly communicated with friends and acquaintances. His unique verbal, musical and visual content and style permeated everything he touched. Included in this extensive career biography are the major events of his life, his artistic innovations and cultural achievements, a detailed survey of his recordings and live performances, and in-depth discussions of his screen performances--not only his Hollywood feature film appearances, but his performances in short films, European concert films, and dozens of television shows broadcast from Hollywood, New York and Europe.
The first autobiography of a jazz musician, Louis Armstrong's Swing That Music is a milestone in jazz literature. Armstrong wrote most of the biographical material, which is of a different nature and scope than that of his other, later autobiography, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (also published by Da Capo/Perseus Books Group). Satchmo covers in intimate detail Armstrong's life until his 1922 move to Chicago; but Swing That Music also covers his days on Chicago's South Side with ”King” Oliver, his courtship and marriage to Lil Hardin, his 1929 move to New York, the formation of his own band, his European tours, and his international success. One of the most earnest justifications ever written for the new style of music then called ”swing” but more broadly referred to as ”Jazz,” Swing That Music is a biography, a history, and an entertainment that really ”swings.”
A rags-to-riches narrative of the eminent jazz artist's early life describes how his childhood was marked by such challenges as poverty, Jim Crow legislation, and vigilante terrorism but how his musical prowess was shaped by the culturally rich African-American traditions of New Orleans. Reprint.
"In all my whole career the Brick House was one of the toughest joints I ever played in. It was the honky-tonk where levee workers would congregate every Saturday night and trade with the gals who'd stroll up and down the floor and the bar. Those guys would drink and fight one another like circle saws. Bottles would come flying over the bandstand like crazy, and there was lots of just plain common shooting and cutting. But somehow all that jive didn't faze me at all, I was so happy to have some place to blow my horn." So says Louis Armstrong, a tough kid who just happened to be a musical genius, about one of the places where he performed and grew up. This raucous, rich tale of his early days in New Orleans concludes with his departure to Chicago at twenty-one to play with his boyhood idol King Oliver, and tells the story of a life that began, mythically, on July 4, 1900, in the city that sowed the seeds of jazz.
Louis Armstrong. "Satchmo." To millions of fans, he was just a great entertainer. But to jazz aficionados, he was one of the most important musicians of our times--not only a key figure in the history of jazz but a formative influence on all of 20th-century popular music. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York during the "jazz age", Collier re-creates the saga of an old-fashioned black man making it in a white world. He chronicles Armstrong's rise as a musician, his scrapes with the law, his relationships with four wives, and his frequent feuds with fellow musicians Earl Hines and Zutty Singleton. He also sheds new light on Armstrong's endless need for approval, his streak of jealousy, and perhaps most important, what some consider his betrayal of his gift as he opted for commercial success and stardom. A unique biography, knowledgeable, insightful, and packed with information, it ends with Armstrong's death in 1971 as one of the best-known figures in American entertainment.
Release on 2014-02-03 | by Thomas Brothers,Thomas David Brothers
Author: Thomas Brothers,Thomas David Brothers
Pubpsher: W. W. Norton & Company
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Picking up where Louis Armstrong's New Orleans left off, this biographical account of the legendary jazz trumpet virtuoso highlights the historical role Armstrong played in the creation of modern music and also his encounters with racism.