Tuesday, August 4, 2009


"Once an Armstrong had achieved some technical breakthrough -an extension of the upper range, an exciting new way of swinging, a new double-time effect, some new ways of articulating and phrasing on his instrument -other players not only could no longer say 'that can’t be done,' but actually had to shape up and learn those new skills and deal with those new ideas, if they wanted to stay professionally competitive."

satchmo was simply one of the great american music innovators. there aren't a bunch of them(bill monroe, jimmy rogers & hank williams, ellington & miles, muddy waters & lightnin' hopkins, dylan, hendrix)but armstrong's contribution has been documented exhaustively. gunther schuller was the first to "legitimate" armstrong's innovations, in that he was the first outside of the jazz field to do so. i remember reading his take on "potato head blues" & its use of stop-time & the astonishingly complex solo armstrong constructed & performed within the song's simple structure. jazz & blues are america's gift to the world & louis armstrong was present at the creation.
armstrong had a deep connection to new orleans, the city of my dreams. he always signed his letters, "red beans & ricely yours."

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