Sunday, August 4, 2019

On Louis Armstrong’s birthday

[“Musician Louis Armstrong with neighborhood kids.” Photograph by John Loengard. Queens, New York, 1965. From the Life Photo Archive.]

From “Our Neighborhood” (c. 1970):

When my wife Lucille + I moved into this neighborhood there were mostly white people. A few Colored families. Just think — through the (29) years that we′ve been living in this house′ we have seen just about (3) generations come up on this particular block — 107 Street between 34th + 37th Ave. Lots of them have grown up — Married′ had Children. Their Children + they still come and visit — Aunt Lucille + Uncle Louis.

Louis Armstrong, in His Own Words, ed. Thomas Brothers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).
Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901. Columbia University’s WKCR is playing Armstrong today.

In light of current events, I’ll borrow from something I said I said to my students when I played a recording in class not long after a 2013 mass killing: There are people whose work is to perpetrate suffering, and there are people whose work is to create joy. Musicians engage in that second endeavor.

Nobody more so than Louis Armstrong.

Related reading
All OCA Louis Armstrong posts (Pinboard)

[I’ve followed the editor’s use of the prime for the apostrophe, a mark Armstrong used to convey emphasis.]

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