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Louis Armstrong. Satchmo. Pops. Need I say more?

Louis Armstrong often liked to tell tales about his past, especially his childhood. He often said his birthday was July 4th. It’s not, it’s August 4th. But there is and was always something so very fitting in having Pops born on July 4th. Jazz radio stations (yes, some still exist!) will often give Satchmo memorial broadcasts on or around July 4th. Sometimes for several days.

Jazz is The United States of America. And Louis Armstrong is jazz. So here on July 6th, as we all grab for more BBQ or fireworks display before returning to work tomorrow: Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans on August 4th 1901 and he died 43 years ago today on July 6th, 1971. For all intents and purposes, Louis Armstrong invented modern popular music which began as inventing Jazz. He wasn’t the only one per se, you cannot talk about the origins of Jazz without mentioning Jelly Roll Morton. And perhaps I am exaggerating by saying he invented modern popular music, though perhaps I am not. But he has left an imprint on music reviled only by men with last names like Mozart and Bach and Parker.

Unlike every other musician I’ve written about over the last 5 months, Satchmo has a museum for him.  It is the house he lived in for 28 years in Queens, NY. The Corona neighborhood.

He also gets two nicknames! “Satchmo” apparently is short for satchelmouth which is a name he picked up as a kid hustling the streets of New Orleans. “Pops” was his go to word when he couldn’t remember someone else’s name. He would call people “pops” and eventually people started calling him by that name. I suspect as he became the elder statesman of jazz that folks subconsciously used it to identify him as the unofficial patriarch of Jazz. And maybe neither all that “sub”consciously nor “un”official.

Actually he has three, having been called dipper—short for dippermouth—early in his career.

If you want to see a good documentary about Louis Armstrong, watch the Ken Burns miniseries on Jazz. Ken Burns pretty much drops the ball when he hits the Be Bop period. But if you consider the series as being primarily about Pops (and Duke Ellington) and don’t expect it to be about Miles or Bird or Monk or Dizzy or Trane or Blakey or anything after 1959, it is an excellent documentary.

1927’s Struttin’ with some BBQ. Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five.

Its really too bad that Boardwalk Empire is going to see its last season in the fall. I don’t expect them to get into Chicago and Louis Armstrong. Well, honestly, I’ld rather watch a series about Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Myer Lansky than one about Nuchy Thomas, but you can’t complain about a series not being the series you would produce.

Here’s the early bio—Louis grew up in deep poverty in Urban New Orleans. His father left the family when Louis was very young, his mother abandoned him and then reunited with him (by the time he was 5). He went to a boys school for a while but quit when he was 11. He sang and such on the street and began learning the cornet (a kind of trumpet) at 11. He did gigs around New Orleans and on riverboats and would occasionally play with the older New Orleans musicians including King Oliver, December 19, 1881 – April 10, 1938. Oliver moved north and in 1919 Satchmo took his place in the band led by Kid Ory, December 25, 1886 – January 23, 1973. In 1922, Armstrong moved to Chicago and was invited by Oliver to join his band. Louis now earned enough money from performing to no longer work day jobs. Apparently, he was able to afford his own apartment with a private bath!

At the prodding of his 2nd wife, Oliver’s pianist Lil, Armstrong began to strive for greater things. He left Oliver and joined the group of Fletcher Henderson in New York City.

Btw, that recording is the first with Louis singing.

By 1925, at the ripe old age of 24, Louis returned to Chicago started his first group, The Hot Five.

1926’s The Heebie Jeebies

This group was Ory on trombone, Lil on piano, Johnny Dodds on Clarinet , and Johnny St Cyr on Banjo; and Louis of course.

West End Blues  from 1928

And Basin Street Blues also from 1928

Muggles is a song about marijuana. Pops grew up smoking marijuana and it said he continued to smoke it his entire life.

And there was also The Hot Seven which added a Tuba and Drums. Im also a little confused on something, Earl Hines will replace Lil on piano and record with the Hot Seven and the Hot five and I was under the impression that this happened when Lil and Armstrong split, but apparently they didn’t separate until 1931 and divorced in 1938. Earl “Father” Hines, December 28, 1903– April 22, 1983, is oft considered one of the most important early pianists in jazz.

Potato head blues, which known for its trumpet solo.

::Sigh:: Most players don’t play Tuba anymore. Some of the guys who play in the modern brass bands down in New Orleans do. I’m fairly sure the Bass player from The Roots does (that’s Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show band these days). But not many do anymore.

Alligator blues

1927’s Weary Blues

1927 st james infirmary

Wild man blues

1927 that’s when Ill come back to you

I’ll be honest. This “Jazz Age” stuff is not my favorite. I like it well enough to listen. It’s no burden checking out the tracks for the diary. Should it be playing on WBGO or WKCR, I won’t change the channel. But it almost has more an intellectual and historical appeal to me more than a musical one. It is cool stuff, no doubt. If I didn’t think there was value in it, I wouldn’t have just posted ten clips. But I like Satchmo more so after this and into the 1930s.


Armstrong returned to New York, in 1929, where he played in the pit orchestra of the successful musical Hot Chocolate, an all-black revue written by Andy Razaf and pianist/composer Fats Waller. He also made a cameo appearance as a vocalist, regularly stealing the show with his rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'", his version of the song becoming his biggest selling record to date

If you can, listen to how Louis phrases his vocal lines. It is really astounding. The way he plays with the rhythm and the melody. It certainly swings like a mother f----r (that’s a compliment of the highest degree), but its that command of the melody and the ability to bend it that is so very significant. It is Jazz. It is African-American. It is United Statesian. It is music.

1930 Bessie Couldn’t Help It

Remember “The Peanut Vendor”?


Armstrong started to work at Connie's Inn in Harlem, chief rival to the Cotton Club, a venue for elaborately staged floor shows,and a front for gangster Dutch Schultz. Armstrong also had considerable success with vocal recordings, including versions of famous songs composed by his old friend Hoagy Carmichael. His 1930s recordings took full advantage of the new RCA ribbon microphone, introduced in 1931, which imparted a characteristic warmth to vocals and immediately became an intrinsic part of the 'crooning' sound of artists like Bing Crosby. Armstrong's famous interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" became one of the most successful versions of this song ever recorded....

And 1931’s lazy river

It was in the early 1980s that the public began to accept that Satchmo was not born on July 4th. I have strong memories of a July 4th in my tween years when my dad had us listening to a weeklong Armstrong broadcast on the radio. I remember driving with my parents and I probably was busy checking out because they were probably fighting with each other. The way I would “check out” during their fights in car rides was to focus on the radio and whatever dad had playing (or just “play” music in my head if the radio was not on). I remember hearing this next one in a way that has stayed with me since that day in 1981 or 1982. I don’t think its as an iconic recording as Stardust or Lazy River, but all I need to do is close my eyes and I hear Pops singing this one.

1932’s All of Me

The Gangster-Prohibition-Jazz connection is rather fascinating and probably worth more research. I actually had an undergraduate student in a class I taught last fall who was doing some research along those lines. Perhaps it was because Im 46 and an adjunct, perhaps it was because the course on the relationship between culture and biology and heavily about genetics (oy… evolutionary psychology is not as accurate or informative as too many people think it is….I’ll write that diary sometime soon and not publish it on a Sunday evening), but the student didn’t quite take me up on the offer to review her research before she submitted it as her senior project. Her loss.
Satchmo worked for gangster. He played the speakeasies. Prohibition was the Jazz Age and Louis Armstrong is its soundtrack. And he got into trouble with a few to the extent that he fled to Europe.

1933’s Dinah. Live in Copenhagen.

He changed managers. Some handled the gangsters better than others. I do believe some were gangsters. Ken Burns talks about this. He did a better job than I am.

1935’s Im in the Mood for Love

In the 1930s, Louis Armstrong becomes a HUGE star.

1937 Alexander’s Ragtime Band

Ah…to have a theme song. Bob Hope had “Thanks for the Memories”. Monk had “Epistrophy”. Paulie Walnuts had “Nancy with the Laughing Face”. Louis Armstrong had “Sleepy Time Down South”.



Following a highly successful small-group jazz concert at New York Town Hall on May 17, 1947….(t)his group was called Louis Armstrong and his All Stars and included at various times Earl "Fatha" Hines, Barney Bigard, Edmond Hall, Jack Teagarden, Trummy Young, Arvell Shaw, Billy Kyle, Marty Napoleon, Big Sid Catlett, Cozy Cole, Tyree Glenn, Barrett Deems, Joe Darensbourg and the Filipino-American percussionist Danny Barcelona. During this period, Armstrong made many recordings and appeared in over thirty films. He was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time Magazine on February 21, 1949.
Here’s Pops’ set from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival

But what will always astound and delight me is the recordings he made with Ella Fitzgerald. These are the Armstrong recordings that I have listened to with great regularity. Perhaps the two greatest singers in Jazz together!

Cheek to Cheek

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off


They Can’t take that away from me

Once we get into the 50s, some other issues come up…

Wikipedia brings up and Ken Burn’s deals a little with this….

….did not prevent members of the African-American community, particularly in the late 1950s to the early 1970s, from calling him an Uncle Tom….

He was criticized for accepting the title of "King of The Zulus" for Mardi Gras in 1949….an honored role as the head of leading black Carnival Krewe, but bewildering or offensive to outsiders with their traditional costume of grass-skirts and blackface makeup satirizing southern white attitudes….

Billie Holiday countered, however, "Of course Pops toms, but he toms from the heart."

The few exceptions made it more effective when he did speak out. Armstrong's criticism of President Eisenhower, calling him "two-faced" and "gutless" because of his inaction during the conflict over school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 made national news.

As a protest, Armstrong canceled a planned tour of the Soviet Union on behalf of the State Department saying "The way they're treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell" and that he could not represent his government abroad when it was in conflict with its own people. Six days after Armstrong's comments, Eisenhower ordered Federal troops to Little Rock to escort students into the school.

The FBI kept a file on Armstrong, for his outspokenness about integration

Louis Armstrong died of a heart attack in his sleep on July 6th 1971. He is buried in Flushing, Queens. The Earth is better place for having him here.

Ah…what the heck…I was going to leave this off on purpose, but…..

Thanks for listening everyone! And thanks for the comments and support. If you just found me today, I do my best to publish a jazz related diary every Sunday night. So come on back next week! I think next week I might dedicate a diary to a piano player. Im not sure who yet, but piano is my instrument and I certainly have an affinity for pianists. Also, since we will see two potentially very interesting bio-movies about two incredibly significant musicians this summer, I intend to do a James Brown diary sometime this month and a Jimi Hendrix one in August. No, it’s not exactly jazz, but there is really no way a two hour film can do justice to the music of either men. Not to mention that those films better not suck!

Please support your local jazz musicians and all local live music. And theater. And poetry. And art museums and galleries and painters and sculptors.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Other. Too many, so much. (6+ / 0-)


    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 07:21:30 PM PDT

    •  Another "Other." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, JeffW, ichibon

      Pops did so much for so long, but my favorite is his wistful take on "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans."

      I've been to his museum. It's on a side street in Corona. Be prepared, though, because you're parallel parking just like the locals (A busful of kids was coming through the day I visited. The driver must have had a heart attack!), but this place must be seen for a sense of the man himself.

      Armstrong was the first mass-marketed superstar, and that marketing put him in places and positions where he got called "Uncle Tom" by the purists. Armstrong didn't care. He just wanted to play, and when he had to lay off for health reasons near the end of his life, it nearly drove him crazy. There's a picture of him on the phone in his office, wearing a bathrobe and a Mets cap (The Mets had just been born down the road in Flushing the year before) and smiling like we all remember him. I want to get a print of that picture and hang it in my office, because that's jazz, baby!

      Thanks as always, Ev, and keep 'em flying!

      "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

      by Oliver Tiger on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 07:39:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (6+ / 0-)

    on Pops -- thank you!!

  •  Thank you for this tribute and all the great (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar, Joy of Fishes, JeffW, ichibon

    songs and music.

  •  Not enough can be written about Pops. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, Oliver Tiger

    If he says his birthday is July 4th, then July 4th it is.
    Denise has been publishing a diary in honor of his (chosen)  birthday for the past couple years. See here.
    Thanks for recounting the life of one of the greatest entertainers of all times.

    Maya Angelou: “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

    by JoanMar on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 07:48:57 PM PDT

    •  hehe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, ichibon

      i did a long afternoon gig and was out all day on the 4th, so I never looked closely enough to see if anyone had done anything. and I gave up searching for things jazz related on daily kos 7 or 8 years ago lol

      but after 5 months of doing these every sunday like folks didnt anticipate this from me? hehe

      everyone go read the other diary for interesting informations! it is very good and different from what i have presented here.

      there should be expected redundancy around james brown and Jimi Hendrix over the next 2 or 3 months as well. but whatever i do will likely be different from others might decide do.

      I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

      by Evolution on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:06:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am sure that even after the hundreds (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of books that have been written about the lives of these great entertainers, there's still more that could be written.

        There is space for you, Denise, and anyone else who care to write about Louis Armstrong, James Brown (I am going to see the movie on opening night), and Jimi Hendrix.

        I love your series, so write on! :)

        Maya Angelou: “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

        by JoanMar on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:40:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i must say that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JoanMar, ichibon

          i saw a clip of the director speaking and i got a little concerned. After ray and walk the line, the bar for pop music bio pics is pretty high. With James Brown, i expect the movie to be weak for the period of james brown i like best....with bootsy and catfish. that wont necessarily make for  bad movie though. we shall see hehe

          and i guarantee that there will be zero mention of Bill Stewart, the greatest living jazz drummer under 50 years old who was in Maceo's band in the late 80s and is playing drums in the HBO reunion special of brown and the JB horns. He may have done tours with Brown too, I not sure.

          I'll write about Bill when i do my William Paterson College nepotism diary. But he is THAT good.

          I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

          by Evolution on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:36:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll have to go look up that HBO reunion special. (0+ / 0-)

            Chadwick Boseman is a very good actor. He played Jackie Robinson in 42 and I thought he was even better than some of those who were nominated for this year's Oscar.
            I am hoping that he will give at least as good a performance in this movie as he did playing Jackie.

            Looking forward to reading the diary about Bill Stewart.

            Maya Angelou: “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

            by JoanMar on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:52:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  having thought a little bit about it... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              my concern with all music bio-pics is that they tend not to really be about the music. they tend to be about the personal issues and struggles of the artist. This can make for a good movie...but they all lack something.

              I think part of the issue too is that filmmakers may be very creative and intelligent and talented, but they dont understand the process of doing 4 gigs a week, 50 weeks a year, for 15 years in a row all for @$100 each. Nor do they get what it means to practice 3-5 hours a day on top of that. Or perhaps they do understand that, but I've never seen a film accurately portray something like that...and it would probably be a somewhat boring movie too. Not even Treme on HBO came close to showing that, and that show probably presented music and musicians better than anything ever on film or television.

              But THAT is the life of a true musician: Work. Hard work. Over a long long period of time. Usually for very little reward.

              who boinked who, who snorted what, who made a deal with who...all of that will be irrelevant in a hundred years. It'll make a nice story for now. But when its all said and done, its the music that will be left and its the music that will stand the test of time. And these films can't be about the music first and foremost because in 2 hours of music you may only begin to scratch the surface...and actors are actors, not musicians. (with an exception here and Ruben Blades)

              So, Im not going to worry about seeing the movie I want to see and instead wait patiently for the story the film maker wants to tell...and hope that its good.

              PS you will only catch a fleeting glimpse of Bill Stewart in that HBO special. They do not put the camera on him. Skinny short red hair white dude from Iowa. To look at him, you may not realize he is the baddest, funkiest, swingingest M*** F*** on the planet under 50 years old.

              I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

              by Evolution on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 10:12:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Is it possible to capture (0+ / 0-)

                the whole truth in a 2 hr movie?
                I'll go see the movie knowing that I'm going to be getting bits and pieces of entertaining facts and if I'm lucky, and the director is any good, it may be creatively woven together to approximate the life of the subject.
                I don't think the business of Show Business lends itself to portraying the grind it takes to become great.  It is said that Michael Jordan would shoot a thousand free throws a day. Who is going watch passed the first 50?

                Plus, I'm looking forward to the dancing; it had better be good.


                Maya Angelou: “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”

                by JoanMar on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 10:30:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  wkcr celebrates both birthdays, 7/4 and 8/4 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with round-the-clock birthday broadcasts of nothing but armstrong.  new york station 89.9fm, i believe the internet address is

      •  i need to check dkos house rules (0+ / 0-)

        i wanted to post a link to wkcr for their fundraising a few weeks ago, but Im not sure what the dkos rules are for things like that

        I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

        by Evolution on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 10:14:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Our White People" (7+ / 0-)

    In Louis Armstrong's first autobiography, he wrote about growing up in New Orleans and the difference between "our white people" and those white people who weren't.

    He was always an entertainer, a performer, but I don't believe, if you look at the whole of his life, he could be called an Uncle Tom.  He refused to  straighten his hair as early as 1930, he insisted in his contracts that he be able to stay in the places he played, a principled stand at the time, and cancelled his tour of the USSR because of President Eisenhower's failure to support desegregation, writing the President, “The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell,” and “It’s getting almost so bad, a colored man hasn’t got any country.”  When his manager publicly apologized for Armstrong’s statements, Armstrong fired him saying, “Do you dig me when I still say I have a right to blow my top over injustice.”

    Check out "The Real Ambassadors" that Louis Armstrong did with Dave and Iola Brubeck.

    Yeah, and he smoked marijuana most every day and had a weekly high colonic.  Pops was the best.

  •  Sousaphone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you want to hear some of the best jazz improvisation these days, take a listen to Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band wail on his sousaphone.  He's a monster musician and not as well known as he deserves to be.

  •  Pops and Lady Day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, blueoasis, scott on the rock

    Billie Holiday said she wanted to sing the way Pops played the trumpet.  Here they are together in one version of a classic

  •  No Exaggeration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, gffish, Oliver Tiger

    He did invent American popular music as we know it. He was not only America's greatest entertainer, he was also its greatest artist in any medium. West End Blues is as impressive a piece of art as Guernica. My vote for man of the 20th Century. A handful of other like Eisenhower, FDR and Churchill may have saved it, but Pops made redeemed it and made the century worth saving. Thanks for this fabulous post.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:15:29 PM PDT

  •  Earl "Fatha" Hines (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    um, not "Father"  :-D

    did you see deo47's annual tribute?  If the man wanted to celebrate on July 4th, let's indulge him!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:19:22 PM PDT

    •  yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you are correct. "fatha" somehow, my poor spelling insisted that word got spelt as "father"

      and call me an Argentine, but today is the anniversary of his death. And sadly, that is not under dispute. So its a good day to celebrate him!

      I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

      by Evolution on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:41:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  more on Pops (0+ / 0-)

    is in the Book "Louis Armstrong's New Orleans", by Thomas Brothers.

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:36:49 PM PDT

  •  Louis + Ella = THE BEST! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, Chas 981

    Thank You for including the songs Pops and Ella recorded n the '50s - some of my favorite recordings EVER, and you picked three I also love.  I have three favorite versions of Cheek To Cheek - Fred Astaire, Louis and Ella, and Danny Kaye singing it to Miss Piggy on The Muppet Show.

    While jazz purists may like his instrumentals best, I love his songs best myself.  His voice was warm and rich, and he used it to perfection to make his vocals engaging.  There is no song that's not improved by his interpretation.

  •  Louis Armstrong may be my all-time favorite (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, blueoasis, daveminnj

    musician and entertainer. He is at least one of them. He played and sang with so many other great entertainers during his lifetime. One of my favorites because of the era and crossover was when he recorded with Hall of Fame country singer Jimmie Rodgers in 1930. That's Pops on the horn:

    Blue Yodel No. 9

    "I guess you think you can psych me out by saying really random stuff." -Sora, Hollow Bastion, KH2

    by SphericalXS on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:21:07 PM PDT

  •  Voted for St. James Infirmary (0+ / 0-)

    but also love Mack the Knife.

    He was fantastic.

    But I thought he learned to play cornet when he was in juvie after setting off some fireworks? Or maybe shooting a gun in the air? Something like that, anyway.

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 12:39:24 AM PDT

  •  "The Jazz Age" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsjim, Evolution

    Among some musicians - aficionados of Dixieland and early New Orleans style - the music of the "jazz age" is the only jazz that exists.  Everything that comes after is not "real" jazz, but only pretending.

    This seems to have a lot to do with what instrument the musicians plays: clarinetists, pianists, trombonists seem to fall into the "jazz age music is the real jazz" group; saxophonists and bassists into the "jazz age music is interesting but not real jazz" group.

    And piano players like myself will tell you that America popular music got started by Scott Joplin.  He had the earliest and most popular "hits".

    To be a good jazz player, one must be a sort of historian - collecting and becoming knowledgeable about earlier forms and styles.  Jazz is very much like "classical" music in this regard.  And like classical music, one cannot understand what makes a song or player "revolutionary" unless one knows what the music sounded like before the revolution occurred.  A dedicated drummer and bass player were not very common in popular American music before LA and The Hot Five; after that, a bassist and a drummer became pretty much mandatory in American popular music.  LA did not invent the idea of a drummer and bass player, but his music and style were so influential that it became a ubiquitous feature of popular music thereafter.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 05:57:25 AM PDT

    •  This is right on. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What Pops brought to jazz was impeccable improvisation. I've spoken to a lot of great jazz players, famous and not. To a person, they all learned how to improvise by transcribing and studying Armstrong's solos. It is hard to overemphasize how important this was to the evolution of jazz.

      So endith the trick.

      by itsjim on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:59:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  nice (0+ / 0-)

      though, im not sure ild agree with the notion that pianists and trombonists tend to fall into the "jazz age music is the real jazz" automatically. In fact, i think its impossible to say any particular instrument favors one style or another. Except maybe jazz banjo.

      And i say this because Im sure for every example you can come with for a pianist or trombonist who would, I bet I could name 2 who dont. And being a pianist myself, I feel Im on pretty sure footing with that.

      It could be generational too. I do know a few pianists my age who just KILL stride piano and rags and boogie woogie and love that more than anything else. But overwhelmingly, the pianist I know around my age and younger worship at the altar of Herbie, McCoy, Keith and Monk over all others and the pianist that Harold Mabern over and over told us to listen to was Ahmad Jamal. (as if we needed o be told that!). And then there are the Bill Evans fans.

      trombones have other issues. But try telling jazz trombone player jokes to salseros and you might get your head ripped off...happened to me once.

      Still, good points otherwise! As with everything (and i am certainly guilty of this from time to time) it's generalizations that can get us into trouble.

      I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

      by Evolution on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 09:44:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lots of tuba players here in NOLA. (0+ / 0-)

    Brass bands are still poppin'

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:03:43 AM PDT

    •  oh ya (0+ / 0-)

      never said there weren't. in fact i said that i do believe those guys double on bass and tuba like many more had done in the past.

      I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

      by Evolution on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 09:47:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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