Saturday, August 4, 2018

On Louis Armstrong’s birthday

Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901.

Give this son of a gun eight stars! Lombardo! These people are keeping music alive — helping to fight them damn beboppers. You know, you got to have somebody to keep that music sounding good. Music doesn’t mean a thing unless it sounds good. You know, this is the band that inspired me to make “Among My Souvenirs.” They inspired me to make “Sweethearts on Parade.” They’re my inspirators!
That’s from a blindfold test published as “Lombardo Grooves Louis!” (Metronome, September 1949). Armstrong was listening to six recordings. He gave two, three, or four stars to Roy Eldridge, Bunk Johnson, Woody Herman, Art Hodes, and Benny Goodman. Guy Lombardo outranked them all. Genius confounds.

Here is the 1945 Lombardo recording Armstrong was evaluating: “Always” (Irving Berlin). And here is Armstrong’s 1942 recording of “Among My Souvenirs” (Edgar Leslie–Horatio Nicholls). And from 1930, a surreal ”Sweethearts on Parade” (Carmen Lombardo–Charles Newman). Genius confounds.

Louis Armstrong’s recordings are now playing at Columbia University’s WKCR-FM.

Related reading
All OCA Louis Armstrong posts (Pinboard)
“A Sailboat in the Moonlight” (Guy Lombardo, Billie Holiday)

[“Lombardo Grooves Louis!” appears in Louis Armstrong in His Own Words: Selected Writings, ed. Thomas Brothers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.]

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