Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

LOUIS ARMSTRONG 1901-1971

The only thing that mattered
was getting on to that music, that vibration,
and feeling the connection woith the whole world

An American jazz trumpeter and singer, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops.

He came to prominence in the 1920s as an innovative cornet and trumpet player.  He shifted jazz from collective improvisation to solo performers.

What a Wonderful World

He was also renowned for his charismatic stage presence and distinctive gravelly voice.  Critic Steve Leggett described him "perhaps the most important American musician of the 20th century."

PETER Pops, you pretty much defined what jazz was.
ARMSTRONG I tried to think of music that spoke to the soul - putting people into a place where they could float and be themselves, and be separate from their day-to-day problems
PETER You were placed in the New Orleans Home for Coloured Waifs.  You were a tear-away kid.
ARMSTRONG More a "terror". (LAUGHS) I was a high-spirited boy.  The times and places led to that.  It was: go to work, do the grind, come back home, "party hearty" (as they used to say).  I liked the excitement of that town.
PETER You put your mind to playing the cornet in reform school.
ARMSTRONG The first time I heard it, it made my soul sing.  When I saw a funeral passing by and heard the music of that procession, I knew of the connection to Home.  The cornet was the instrument that called to me.  That wail you can put in there - it spoke of the connection between angels and sinners.
PETER You did a little pimping in the 20's didn't you.
ARMSTRONG I'm not proud of that!  That was part of the hustle you had from childhood - you did anything you could to provide for yourself.  Everything you undergo in physical form adds to your overall knowledge and your wisdom of the whole human experience.
PETER Looking back on your life, what were the main spiritual lessons you had to learn?
ARMSTRONG I had to try to overcome people pushing me down as a black man, and I had to learn to bury the anger that was there.  My way of reciprocating with love was to go into my music and let people feel it; so that whatever was going on outside and wherever I was, just didn't matter.
PETER Do they play jazz in heaven?
ARMSTRONG They play everything in heaven.  You know with the upbeat of the angels - I mean they like to boogie, and they sure can't do it to, excuse me, Ave Maria.

Toni comments: Armstrong's feeling was of mirth, exuberance.  There was almost lyricism in some of the things he said.   You could feel the rhythm.   It seemed to as if some of it rhymed.   It was often done tongue in cheek, but with a verve - it was alive.


Talking with Twentieth Century Men
The foregoing are excerpts from Talking with Twentieth Century Men.
If you wish to purchase this book please go to the Celestial Voices website.
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