Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong



Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Product Description Louis Armstrong Was The Greatest Jazz Musician Of The Twentieth Century And A Giant Of Modern American Culture He Knocked The Beatles Off The Top Of The Charts, Wrote The Finest Of All Jazz Autobiographies Without A Collaborator And Created Collages That Have Been Compared To The Art Of Romare Bearden The Ranks Of His Admirers Included Johnny Cash, Jackson Pollock And Orson Welles Offstage He Was Witty, Introspective And Unexpectedly Complex, A Beloved Colleague With An Explosive Temper Whose Larger Than Life Personality Was Tougher And Sharp Edged Than His Worshipping Fans Ever Knew Wall Street Journal Arts Columnist Terry Teachout Has Drawn On A Cache Of Important New Sources Unavailable To Previous Armstrong Biographers, Including Hundreds Of Private Recordings Of Backstage And After Hours Conversations That Armstrong Made Throughout The Second Half Of His Life, To Craft A Sweeping New Narrative Biography Of This Towering Figure That Shares Full, Accurate Versions Of Such Storied Events As Armstrong S Decision To Break Up His Big Band And His Quarrel With President Eisenhower For The First Time Certain To Be The Definitive Word On Armstrong For Our Generation, Pops Paints A Gripping Portrait Of The Man, His World And His Music That Will Stand Alongside Gary Giddins Bing Crosby A Pocketful Of Dreams And Peter Guralnick S Last Train To Memphis The Rise Of Elvis Presley As A Classic Biography Of A Major American MusicianExclusive A Letter From Terry Teachout, Author Of Pops A Life Of Louis Armstrong ImageDear ReadersPops A Life Of Louis Armstrong, My New Book, Is The Story Of A Great Artist Who Was Also A Good Man A Genius Who Was Born In The Gutter And Became A Celebrity Known In Every Corner Of The World A Beloved Entertainer Who Was Complex And Much Tougher Than His Fans Ever Imagined It S Not The First Armstrong Biography, But It S The First One To Tell Satchmo S Story Accurately I Based It In Part On Hundreds Of Private, After Hours Recordings Made By Armstrong Himself, Candid Tapes In Which He Tells The Amazing Tale Of His Ascent To Stardom In Blunt, Plainspoken Language I M The First Biographer To Have Had Access To Those Tapes Read Pops And You Ll Learn The Facts About His Marijuana Arrest, His Life Threatening Run In With The Gangsters Of Chicago, His Triumphant Broadway And Hollywood Debuts, His Complicated Love Life, And Much, Much You Ll Also Come Away Understanding Exactly What It Was That Made Him The Most Influential Jazz Musician Of The Twentieth Century, An Entertainer So Irresistibly Magnetic That He Knocked The Beatles Off The Top Of The Charts Four Decades After He Cut His First Record If You Ve Ever Thrilled To The Sounds Of West End Blues, Mack The Knife, Hello, Dolly Or What A Wonderful World, This Is The Book For You And Yours Give Pops A Read And Find Out All About The Man From New Orleans Who Changed The Face Of American Music Sincerely Yours, Terry TeachoutPhoto Ken Howard Exclusive Terry Teachout S Top Louis Armstrong RecordingsIn Pops A Life Of Louis Armstrong, I Tell The Story Of A Beloved Giant Of Jazz Whose Greathearted, Larger Than Life Personality Shone Through Every Record He Made Here Are Ten Of My Special Favorites I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues Of All Louis Armstrong S Records, This Is The One I Love Best Listen To How He Floats Atop The Beat In The Last Chorus He Sounds Just Like A Tenor Going For A High C West End Blues The Most Celebrated Of All Armstrong Recordings And The Quintessence Of Swing Hotter Than That I Just Played The Way I Sang, Pops Said His Wordless Vocal On This Hot Seven Track Proves It Star Dust Further Proof Listen To How He Rewrites The Lyrics To This Familiar Hoagy Carmichael Ballad Darling Nelly Gray Satchmo Transforms An Old Slave Song, Backed Up By The Suavely Swinging Mills Brothers Jeepers Creepers A Charming Souvenir Of Armstrong S Film Career He Introduced This Johnny Mercer Song In Going Places Struttin With Some Barbecue A Boiling Hot Big Band Remake Of A Classic Hot Five Side In Which The Trumpeter Improves On Perfection You Rascal, You Louis Meets Louis In This Raucous Romp Through An Armstrong Standard, Accompanied To High Spirited Effect By Louis Jordan S Tympany Five New Orleans Function An Old Time New Orleans Jazz Funeral Recreated By The All Stars, With Earl Hines On Piano And Jack Teagarden On Trombone Sleepy Time Down South Armstrong S Theme Song, An Irreplaceable Example Of His Rich And Resplendent Lyricism

10 thoughts on “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong

  1. says:

    A relatively short biography 400 pages not counting the bibliography and notes of perhaps the most influential jazz musician of all Terry Teachout not only a good writer but also a former professional bass player who loves trad jazz and yet is no moldy fig with an axe to grind appreciates both Armstrong s seminal Hot Fives and his latercommercial recordings He shows us Armstrong in all his complexity the sunny disposition and the explosive rages, the devotion to wife Lucille and h A relatively short biography 400 pages not counting the bibliography and notes of perhaps the most influential jazz musician of all Terry Teachout not only a good writer but also a former professional bass player who loves trad jazz and yet is no moldy fig with an axe to grind appreciates both Armstrong s seminal Hot Fives and his latercommercial recordings He shows us Armstrong in all his complexity the sunny disposition and the explosive rages, the devotion to wife Lucille and his continual affairs, his generosity to fellow musicians and his long standing musical grudges In addition, Teachout gives us intelligent and sensitive appreciations of many of the classic recordings I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with a liking for jazz and an interest in its history

  2. says:

    He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone on the way I didn t know anything about Louis Armstrong before this book I had of course heard some of his music like What A Wonderful World Hello Dolly but I didn t realize how important he was I have a love hate relationship with Jazz There was a period in my life when for 2 years I listened to nothing but Jazz and then I couldn t stand the sound of it for like 5 years I think Jazz has that affect on some people, its mood music In all He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone on the way I didn t know anything about Louis Armstrong before this book I had of course heard some of his music like What A Wonderful World Hello Dolly but I didn t realize how important he was I have a love hate relationship with Jazz There was a period in my life when for 2 years I listened to nothing but Jazz and then I couldn t stand the sound of it for like 5 years I think Jazz has that affect on some people, its mood music In all my years as a Jazz lover I never listened to Louis Armstrong His music seemed old timey and uncool I mof a Miles Davis girl or Thelonious Monk I, undervalued the artistry of Louis I m not the only one, for Louis whole career people doubted him or called him an Uncle Tom Louis Armstrong was not only a great artist but he was also a good man unless you were married to him At first I didn t like this book because I thought it spent too much time on his music and too little on his life but as I continued reading I realized that his music was his life Louis Armstrong needed music to survive He performed until just weeks before he died After reading this book I can say with absolute certainty that Louis Armstrong is one the most important musicians in history A must read for music lovers Biography, Autobiography and Memoirs Bookclub

  3. says:

    On a radio jazz show that I once listened to, the host remarked that There is jazz, and there is Louis Armstrong He is in a class by himself.Never has an American music personality risen to the very top from the very bottom of the heap Louis Armstrong had every lined up against him his race and wretched poverty His mother was fifteen when he was born, and his father was absent His formative years were spent in a rough area of New Orleans where brothels were plentiful and disputes were se On a radio jazz show that I once listened to, the host remarked that There is jazz, and there is Louis Armstrong He is in a class by himself.Never has an American music personality risen to the very top from the very bottom of the heap Louis Armstrong had every lined up against him his race and wretched poverty His mother was fifteen when he was born, and his father was absent His formative years were spent in a rough area of New Orleans where brothels were plentiful and disputes were settled by fists and guns But there was plenty of music and this is where Louis started.All this must be kept in mind when Louis vaulted to fame starting in the 1930 s Louis was from way on the other side of the tracks and his language and mannerisms would often reflect this He could be abrupt with anyone who rubbed him the wrong way For example when Benny Goodman tried to upstage and boss Louis on a tour in the 1950 s he was put in his place After a few days Goodman had to leave the tour for medical reasons.Louis was the first African American to appeal to all audiences He toured across North America, Europe starting in the 1930 s , and Africa in the 1950 s.Some African Americans criticized Louis Armstrong for being too much of a showman and for being a Tom subservient to the white man Some of this is due to his music no longer being at the fore front of the new jazz world that began in the late 1940 s namely bebop But Louis saw himself as both a musician and an entertainer and he excelled at both One must also remember the era of Louis Armstrong he was born in 1901 in the Southern U.S when to transgress a line could have meant a severe beating or even death by lynching The music business in New Orleans, and then Chicago and New York where Louis became famous was dominated by organized crime Louis New Orleans upbringing was a preparation for this he knew how to deal with these characters and form the proper alliances Joe Glaser being a good example as the author explains in his book His life was under threat a number of times but he managed to wiggle out.All this is outlined in the book The author is a musicologist so I found certain passages overly meticulous about the musical notes being played by Louis on the trumpet I wish there would have beenon Louis s singing He was the first African American whose singing voice became immensely popular and recognizable with all audiences The author mentions how Louis charisma was a factor in interviews Ed Murrow for example , short screen bits, a radio show host Louis knew how to attract attention He was a superstar and a worldwide icon.Nobody Knows the Trouble I ve Seenhttps www.youtube.com watch v SVKKR

  4. says:

    Even for non music jazz aficionados Louis Armstrong s face, voice and the sound of his horn are easily recognizable He s become inseparable from the city of his birth, New Orleans, and the birth of his music, jazz The mention of his name immediately conjures up the image of Louis immaculately dressed, his trumpet in one hand, white handkerchief for his sweaty brow in the other, poised to entertain with his big smile and never to disappoint his audience With his music and talent he transcend Even for non music jazz aficionados Louis Armstrong s face, voice and the sound of his horn are easily recognizable He s become inseparable from the city of his birth, New Orleans, and the birth of his music, jazz The mention of his name immediately conjures up the image of Louis immaculately dressed, his trumpet in one hand, white handkerchief for his sweaty brow in the other, poised to entertain with his big smile and never to disappoint his audience With his music and talent he transcended time and race, a shining light proving the American Dream is a reality In hindsight all of this may seem true, but of course Satchmo s rise to American icon status iscomplicated than that.Pulling from Armstrong s tape recorded diaries and conversations hundreds of his letters Armstrong was a prolific letter writer newspaper magazine interviews, reviews and articles and firsthand accounts from many of Armstrong s peers, the author has pieced together a thorough and adequate narrative of Armstrong s life and to a lesser degree, his times.The reader follows Little Louis from histhan humble beginnings in the Crescent City his mother a prostitute and his father absent Armstrong s time at the New Orleans Colored Waif s Home for Boys, where at some point he picked up his first horn and joined the Home s band Then after hanging out at New Orleans dance halls, with the likes of Joe King Oliver, launching on his professional career riverboats, Chicago, New York we witness his climb to world wide fame And of course Armstrong revolutionized music.Once the narrative settles into Armstrong s career, I found the story told somewhat repetitive band rosters, recording sessions, endless touring and even the claim that Louis sold out which is not to say that this isn t an accurate portrayal description it is but the level of detail may not hold the reader s attention.The author also attempts to explain and even defend Armstrong s behavior decisions musical choices once he was established For instance the claim that Armstrong was easily managed by white men which drew fire from critics with Louis settling to be an entertainer, rather than continuing on as the combustible creative force he was early in his career Also Armstrong s surrounding himself at times with mediocre band members demanding little from his musical arrangers and playing the same tunes, the same way, night after night and Armstrong played a lot of nights on the road I ll leave it to each individual reader s judgment whether the author s repeated explanations defense of Armstrong are necessary Personally I think Satchmo s popularity influence longevity speaks for itself All in all, Pops is still a very readable biography and provides a good overview of Armstrong s life although it may leave you hankering for a littleI found the focus at times too limited with only sporadic instances of placing Armstrong within the context of his times, the music scene and the evolution of American music Because of this, I found Laurence Bergreen s Louis Armstrong An Extravagant Life a muchengaging and informative book Obviously a personal preference, but a preference nonetheless

  5. says:

    His name was pronounced as Lewis , not the Louis the rest of the world preferred to call him He changed music Period Before Louis Armstrong, there was ragtime and some beginnings of jazz , but it was Pops who made jazz, JAZZ Yet by the time he died in 1971, he was knownfor his singing and entertaining than for his pivotal use of the trumpet instead of the cornet in twentieth century music Louis Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans, the Crescent City that could just as His name was pronounced as Lewis , not the Louis the rest of the world preferred to call him He changed music Period Before Louis Armstrong, there was ragtime and some beginnings of jazz , but it was Pops who made jazz, JAZZ Yet by the time he died in 1971, he was knownfor his singing and entertaining than for his pivotal use of the trumpet instead of the cornet in twentieth century music Louis Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans, the Crescent City that could just as well have been called the Cesspool City He developed into a young man with a passion for the horn and a work ethic that set him apart from just about every other musician And what a work ethic it was His music and performing was what he lived for and he did not let the destroying horsemen of alcohol and heroin into his life though he loved his cannabis.In essence, Armstrong was the middle class shopkeeper of modern music He felt a man should have a job, do his best to exceed at that job, and live a citizen s life This conflicted with the later jazz musicians, such as Miles Davis, who considered Pops an Uncle Tom for kowtowing to the white man How Satchmo managed to ride out racial prejudice, Mafia takeovers, and changing tastes is one of the main points of this book, which shows Armstrong to be so muchthan the handkerchief headed relic he was perceived to beI don t listen to fanatics that try to tell me how to blow my horn My experience of Mr Armstrong, prior to reading this book, was his singing, particularly his album with Ella Fitzgerald I knew he was a great jazz trumpeter, but not really aware of his overall influence on the medium The detail in this book was astonishing, as Terry Teachout educates the reader on the life and music of Pops with a strong bibliography and notes section Most biographies fall into one of three areas 1 Let s write about the subject s life.2 Let s write about the subject s work.3 Let s make up poop about the subject and call it verified.This book is none of the above The author provides the life of Armstrong, but also his extraordinary work, down to the exact recordings to which the reader should listen not easy, given that Pops was already recording in the 1920s There are so many asides, such as Louis Armstrong acknowledging his debt to Bing Crosby Pops made his trumpet speak like Crosby s singing and, vice versa, Crosby s debt to Armstrong s effect on popular music.I obviously enjoyed the book and the research that went into it It was never boring, and I also started searching for downloads of other seminal jazz figures mentioned within My respect for Louis Armstrong, and the strength he showed, grew tenfold Now that s jazz.Book Season Spring scrub the dust

  6. says:

    A dandy of a book For years, I had the pleasure of reading short pieces by Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal, where he was the drama critic He also writesbroadly on the arts in Commentary His WSJ articles put this book in my sights for years, especially because Teachout also is a trained musician and jazz bassist But even his drama articles impressed me with the breadth of his erudition his writing is very good, though perhaps not top drawer his insights, however, are both A dandy of a book For years, I had the pleasure of reading short pieces by Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal, where he was the drama critic He also writesbroadly on the arts in Commentary His WSJ articles put this book in my sights for years, especially because Teachout also is a trained musician and jazz bassist But even his drama articles impressed me with the breadth of his erudition his writing is very good, though perhaps not top drawer his insights, however, are both penetrating and connect concepts where relationship was non obvious moments before.Louis not Lou ie he wasn t French Armstrong was born in New Orleans around the turn of the Century in the poorest possible circumstances He was the family s breadwinner from about age six, got busted and sent to reform school at 12 which turned out to be his first lucky break Somehow, he d already fiddled with a cornet, but now had access to a real trumpet Within two years of his release, Armstrong at age 18 was the best blues boogie trumpeter in town, and was starting to play the new music then called jass Lured to Chicago, then Harlem, he made some of his finest recordings then albeit on lo fi 78s or even wax cylinders His playing was his prime ticket and the best bands and in the 1920s, these still were segregated demanded musicians that could sight read music Armstrong s reform school years gave him that Indeed, it soon became clear that Armstrong wasserious about music than almost any of his band mates, in any combo between sets, they would play cards Armstrong would seek the best musician in the club, black or white, and jam after the show No sooner did he make his debut at Roseland in Harlem than word went out that he was something special Louis played that opening night at Roseland, and my goodness, people stopped dancing to come around and listen to him The next night, you couldn t get into the place Just that quick So said Howard Scott, who sat next to him in band leader Henderson s trumpet section, and there is no shortage of corroborating testimony Coleman Hawkins told of another night where he played Don Redman s Shanghai Shuffle so sensationally that I think they made him play ten choruses After that piece, a dancer lifted Armstrong up onto his shoulders We need not take these stories entirely on faith, for the Henderson band went into the recording studio a week after Armstrong s arrival in New York, and one of the first sides it cut was Shanghai Shuffle The band s playing of Redman s arrangement, a coy piece of pop chinoserie , is bouncy but square if noso than most of the other records cut in 1924 by dance bands of both races Then Armstrong crashes out of the starting gate with a syncopated phrase that leads into a blistering hot chorus in which he pulls one of his favorite musical tricks out of his hat for the first time on record he plays eighteen high Cs in a row, avoiding monotony by varying the accentuation of each one To modern ears his solo contains no surprises, for the rhythmic language he was forging on Henderson s bandstand was to become the lingua franca of jazz But, in Armstrong s case familiarity breeds no contempt, and Shanghai Shuffle remains listenable to this day Crucially, in addition to being able to sight read music, Armstrong could write He wasn t a reader But he wrote compulsively, later in his career, dictating into early reel to reel tape recorders The results are at least two authentic Armstrong autobiographies, with minimal ghostwriting Moreover, Armstrong left and published a few essays about his life and his views of music, not to mention race relations including an essay praising the Jews for being subjected to nearly as much discrimination, but sticking together and not wasting their money on gambling and whoring These materials, and Armstrong s perpetual smile and ham it up vaudeville style early in his career made him an anathema to black musicians from surprisingly Dizzy Gillespie to obviously Miles Davis.Armstrong s Achilles heel was his unwillingness to take leadership of his own band or finances even after he became the star attraction with top billing For a while, his third wife and sometimes piano accompanist , Lil, ordered him around, probably to Armstrong s benefit But ultimately, Armstrong turned his entire business over to Joe Glasser, a white man who Louis always called Mr Glasser , never Joe Glasser found the bands, got the gigs, and paid Armstrong a fixed fee later renegotiated to a 50 50 split in a 10 year contract Most everyone found the deal inconceivable, even rather Uncle Tom But Armstrong wanted nothing to do with business This hurt Armstrong in four ways in the prime of his career, his sidemen were mediocre, and couldn t carry part of the load therefore Armstrong played too much, permanently damaging his lips which would split open and gush blood some nights he played too many road shows including in the segregated South , rather than having a fixed home e.g., Sinatra at the Sands and it turned out Glasser was mobbed up a Chicago mafia figure paid off Glasser s start up loan Glasser only was a figurehead, something Armstrong didn t learn until the reading of Glasser s will.That didn t stop Armstrong from making good records and having evenfun He was the first jazz musician to make the cover of Time magazine And, with Hello Dolly , he became the oldest person age 63 to record a number one pop song until Armstrong recorded the song, the musical didn t have a title Later, the president of ABC records refused to publicize What a Wonderful World , which sank without a trace when released in the U.S in England, it sold over 600,000 copies, and may be Armstrong s most recognizable song today.Before Armstrong s death, the Gillespie Monk generation were able to consider the man in his time, and made both peace and musical tributes Armstrong died on June 27, 1970 twenty five thousand people filed past his coffin as it lay in state Armstrong s honorary pallbearers all were celebrities in their own right Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Johnny Carson, Dick Cavvet, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, David Frost, Dizzy Gillespie, Merv Griffin, Bobby Hacket, Harry James, Alan King, John Lindsay, Guy Lumbardo, Nelson Rockefeller, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, and Earl Wilson Duke Ellington summed it up best He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone on the way What a wonderful world.Other biographies of Armstrong exist But I doubt any of them were better able to describe what was so pathbreaking about his playing, so amazing about his music, his proper place as a cultural icon

  7. says:

    Pops is, by far, the best account of Louis Armstrong s life I ve ever encountered Terry Teachout s narrative is graceful and full of insight, and his esteem for Armstrong shines through every page But reading it, I also realized for the first time how challenging it must be to write about the man Armstrong was an undisputed genius He raised jazz above the level of novelty music and inspired an entire generation of artists with his 1920s Chicago bands and the seminal records of his Hot Five Pops is, by far, the best account of Louis Armstrong s life I ve ever encountered Terry Teachout s narrative is graceful and full of insight, and his esteem for Armstrong shines through every page But reading it, I also realized for the first time how challenging it must be to write about the man Armstrong was an undisputed genius He raised jazz above the level of novelty music and inspired an entire generation of artists with his 1920s Chicago bands and the seminal records of his Hot Five He even demonstrated how jazz could truly be art with essential, timeless recordings like West End Blues But within a decade of his emergence on the scene, the critical tide was already beginning to turn against Armstrong first for joining the big band craze and turning his back on small group hot jazz, then for sticking to his good ol good ones while the rest of the jazz world was moving relentlessly forward Satchmo was chastised for working with mediocre sidemen, for embracing commercial pop songs, for his old school vaudeville antics on stage, for his shrinking and fossilized repertoire, for his roles in a long string of forgotten B movies, and for his apparent subservience to white managers Such stones would be flung at Armstrong by music critics, modernists, and black intellectuals for the rest of his life.All of these criticisms have merit, but they neglect Armstrong s own vision His desires were simple He wanted to play the songs he liked for the largest possible audience He wanted to sing He wanted the spotlight, without competition from his sidemen He wanted to be taken care of and absolved from difficult business decisions And he wanted to be loved.Any honest assessment of Armstrong s life needs to resolve this conflict Is his story a rags to riches tour de force where a New Orleans slum kid rises from nothing to become the world s most beloved entertainer, or a tragedy where a great genius becomes set in his ways and fritters his talents away to suit the exploitative whims of others Both stories are true, and Teachout like Gary Giddins in his much shorterSatchmo, understands this Teachout is not afraid to challenge critical orthodoxy, and generally respects Armstrong s choices But this book is not quite the fawning apologia some reviewers say it is Teachout is honest about the paradoxes of Armstrong s life he shows us where he triumphed and where he held himself back or allowed others to do so We see the fiery player with the golden horn, hitting hundreds of high C s in a row, but also the showboater who pushed his body to the point of failure just to please his audience We see the adulation of the masses, but also Armstrong s philandering, his run ins with the mob, his terrible business deals, long stretches of weak recordings and dull concerts, and the flashes of temper or melancholy that were so well hidden from the public.But when all is said and done, we see Louis Armstrong the Giant a man who truly loved the world and was loved by the world in return It s a tremendous life, and Teachout presents it beautifully

  8. says:

    This book explains as well as anything I ve ever read the kinds of losses our country has suffered as a result of racism Louis Armstrong is probably the greatest American musician of the 20th century, yet he had to develop his style and his music to conform to the confines of racism.How muchcould he have done in a culture free of racism The most difficult thing for Teachout to explain is the relationship between Glaser, Armstrong s white manager and promoter, and Armstrong Armstrong hir This book explains as well as anything I ve ever read the kinds of losses our country has suffered as a result of racism Louis Armstrong is probably the greatest American musician of the 20th century, yet he had to develop his style and his music to conform to the confines of racism.How muchcould he have done in a culture free of racism The most difficult thing for Teachout to explain is the relationship between Glaser, Armstrong s white manager and promoter, and Armstrong Armstrong hired him because of his ability to penetrate the white music scene Glaser suceeded, but at great cost to Armstrong s pride and the direction that Armstrong s music took.I think Teachout has done a great job in telling us how Armstrong survived and even thrived within these limitations I am so glad I read this book I listen with new appreciation to Satchmo s music How ironic it is that I am reluctant to type Satchmo It sounds so much like Sambo, yet that was what Armstrong preferred to be called contraction of Satchel Mouth This discomfort is at the heart of accepting the man and the music and his era

  9. says:

    To give you an idea of how much I like this book, I should tell you that half way through it I downloaded The Essential Louis Armstrong for my IPod so I could play the songs after reading Terry Teachout s descriptions of them Teachout is a drama critic and a former professional musician who writes about music with an enthusiasm and detailed accuracy I have never before encountered He takes us into Armstrong s world, from his New Orleans beginnings through his Chicago stint with King Oliver s To give you an idea of how much I like this book, I should tell you that half way through it I downloaded The Essential Louis Armstrong for my IPod so I could play the songs after reading Terry Teachout s descriptions of them Teachout is a drama critic and a former professional musician who writes about music with an enthusiasm and detailed accuracy I have never before encountered He takes us into Armstrong s world, from his New Orleans beginnings through his Chicago stint with King Oliver s Creole Jazz band, to his rise to stardom in New York and his development into a national icon and and International music ambassador Teachout quotes extensively from Armstrong s own writing throughout revealing a great deal about his large and compassionate soul Never before seen photographs enrich the book as do assessments of Armstrong s unrivaled contribution to 20th century American music If you know a lot about Armstrong this book will deepen and expand your knowledge And if you don t know much about him it s an absolute must read

  10. says:

    I found Joe s 2 star review below the most balanced and objective Like reviewers who gave this 4 and 5 stars, I, too, am a great admirer of Armstrong, but I probably gotof a sense of Louis and his music from Ken Burns s documentary series, Jazz than from this book For me, the best chapters were those dealing with the early years in New Orleans and the move to Chicago I find Teachout s style to be dry, pedantic, and soulless The story of this great man cries out for a biographer of th I found Joe s 2 star review below the most balanced and objective Like reviewers who gave this 4 and 5 stars, I, too, am a great admirer of Armstrong, but I probably gotof a sense of Louis and his music from Ken Burns s documentary series, Jazz than from this book For me, the best chapters were those dealing with the early years in New Orleans and the move to Chicago I find Teachout s style to be dry, pedantic, and soulless The story of this great man cries out for a biographer of the caliber of Michael Korda or Philip Norman Joe also recommended Laurence Bergreen s Louis Armstrong An Extravagant Life as muchengaging and informative book I think I ll give it a try

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