Louis Armstrong's New Orleans

Louis Armstrong s New Orleans In the early twentieth century New Orleans was a place of colliding identities and histories and Louis Armstrong was a gifted young man of psychological nimbleness A dark skinned impoverished child

  • Title: Louis Armstrong's New Orleans
  • Author: Thomas Brothers
  • ISBN: 9780393330014
  • Page: 396
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the early twentieth century, New Orleans was a place of colliding identities and histories, and Louis Armstrong was a gifted young man of psychological nimbleness A dark skinned, impoverished child, he grew up under low expectations, Jim Crow legislation, and vigilante terrorism Yet he also grew up at the center of African American vernacular traditions from the DeepIn the early twentieth century, New Orleans was a place of colliding identities and histories, and Louis Armstrong was a gifted young man of psychological nimbleness A dark skinned, impoverished child, he grew up under low expectations, Jim Crow legislation, and vigilante terrorism Yet he also grew up at the center of African American vernacular traditions from the Deep South, learning the ecstatic music of the Sanctified Church, blues played by street musicians, and the plantation tradition of ragging a tune.Louis Armstrong s New Orleans interweaves a searching account of early twentieth century New Orleans with a narrative of the first twenty one years of Armstrong s life Drawing on a stunning body of first person accounts, this book tells the rags to riches tale of Armstrong s early life and the social and musical forces that shaped him The city and the musician are both extraordinary, their relationship unique, and their impact on American culture incalculable.

    228 Comment

    • Bruce says:

      This is not a biography of Louis Armstrong though it more than touches upon his 'career'. By describing the music scene of New Orleans during the late 19th and early 20th century the author provides a theory on the development of 'jazz' and Armstrong's music. Several musicians were part of the music scene in which Armstrong grew up. Many are named in this work but there are others such as Sanctified Church congregations with their style of singing, of the funeral bands, of the dance bands, of th [...]

    • Reggie says:

      Invaluable look at turn-of-the-century New Orleans and teh world that lead to jazz. Great analysis of the Creole/American-black worlds and their interplays, schisms, and synergies with one another.

    • Brad McKenna says:

      Using Armstrong as the thread, Mr. Brothers weaves the story of how Jazz developed in New Orleans. The slaves displaced by their very freedom traveled away from the farms into the cities. They brought with them the field hollers of their fathers (and grandfathers) as well as the musical raucous religious tradition that was as boisterous as the white men's religion was solemn. Together with the suffering that comes with being black in the Antebellum south, those two traits helped form The Blues. [...]

    • Phil Overeem says:

      A probing book that makes strong arguments that a) Armstrong excelled and innovated because of, not in spite of, the environment in which he grew to manhood; and b) Armstrong's music, and jazz in general, became what it was in its early years not simply as a result of New Orleans' gumbo of influences, but as a result of musicians' conscious choices not to abandon the traditions, tricks, and values of underclass black America that reached back to slavery and provided armor, and arms, against Jim [...]

    • Kate says:

      This book was incredible. It only spans about 20 years (between when Armstrong was born and when he left New Orleans for Chicago in 1922) but brings together the socio/political/economic/historical/cultural/just-about-everything-else factors in play in New Orleans during that time. It is approached through the lens of how these elements influenced Armstrong's development as a musician and the evolution of Jazz as a genre. If you have every wanted to really nerd out about early Jazz, I recommend [...]

    • molly says:

      Fantastic guide to the cultural forces at work in the formation of jazz; excellent early biography of New Orleans; and a sorta piece of retroactive social justice, in being explicit about the very real racism and disenfranchisement surrounding early jazz.

    • Robert Rosenberg says:

      what a place and time to be a musician and how did he overcome all of his disadvantages? incredible.

    • Torellana1014 says:

      A history of New Orleans told through the perspective of Louis Armstrong's life. Really interesting analysis of the aesthetic choices that went into Louis' style.

    • Stephen Terrell says:

      This is a very difficult book to rate. For the historical content and the fascinating history of the development of jazz and blues in New Orleans, it is definitely a five-star book. But the writing . . .Written by an academic, the book at times becomes so dry and lost in technical minutia of music, that it makes an incredible story, well, kind of boring. And making the first 20 years of the 20th Century in New Orleans boring is its own special kind of sin.The book focuses primarily on the develo [...]

    • Mark says:

      Prose is a bit plodding and dry. But really interesting once you get past that. It’s not really an armstrong biography although it has lots of biographical elements. Sine info is scant on his life at this time it’s more what life was like in Armstrong’s New Orleans.

    • Marti says:

      I only wish this book had come with a CD of sampler of the types of music and sounds that Armstrong grew up hearing in New Orleans. For example, "freak" music (played outside freak shows) and the theme song for "rags-bottles-and-bones" men (whose song alerted people to bring their empties for recycling).

    • David says:

      Heavey going. but interesting.

    • Ellen says:

      Saw this book on a shelf at my Airbnb rental this weekend (in, where else, New Orleans). Didn't have time to read it while I was there but looking forward to checking it out later.

    • Katharine Holden says:

      Full of detail, but rather disorganized.

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