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Louis Armstrong book review

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1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

Geez, Jim, it's obvious. He 'd be playing just like Wynton Marsalis. :g

Then it's best that he lived and died when he did.

I think people need to get over the whole "sellout" and "Uncle Tom" stuff - there was a real reason why people had those reactions, and one should not discount them. That was a fiber of the time.

But that time has passed, the greater truth has held, and no matter what it all looked like then, and no matter how legit the discomfort was then, then has passed. so let's just get on and learn the bigger lessons. Hell, let's learn the biggest one - that Louis Armstrong was bigger and better than all the shit he went through and put up with and played into.

He was above all that and here's the deal-sealer - he knew it. He knew who he was, more than the business, more than the society, more than the critics, more than anybody.

So let's learn that about his, and then hopefully work on getting each and all of ourselves on that path. Anything else is just blahpidation.

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Early on Dizzy Gillespie referred to Armstrong as "a plantation character." Later on Dizzy said this: "“I began to recognize what I had considered Pops’ grinning in the face of racism as his absolute refusal to let anything, even anger about racism, steal the joy from his life.”

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this is what I posted on Facebook about this whole question:

I look at it this way: Louis Armstrong revolutionized pop music and jazz. He saw himself as an everyman of entertainment, and I think it's racist to complain that he doesn't meet some political standard of appropriate racial behavior; not to mention that it's a myth that he was politically compromised (he very publicly attacked Eisenhower over Little Rock, for example). And he was a great humanitarian, loved by everyone who knew him. At his best he was the James Joyce of jazz and popular music, restructuring reality and rearranging it in revelatory ways, showing us that linearity doesn't mean A to B to C but is instead a representation of shifting states of consciousness. He was the American Dada, showing how reality is a confrontation between the intellect and the senses.
 
And in the end, no matter what he did, it is a matter of self-determination. You think music is political? Then Louis Armstrong is the great liberator, a black man who declared artistic and personal independence when to do so was risky if not dangerous.
 
So let us summarize: a genius artist who was the most influential musician of the 20th century; an individual who took control of his life, artistic and personal, who was about as free as a 20th century black man could be; a great entertainer beloved by millions; and great human being, a humanitarian who treated everyone as equals. What the hell more do we want from the guy?

 

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On facebook, I would give this a :tup

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