There was quite a lot of coverage of Barack Obama’s 50th birthday a couple of days ago, but it seems to have slipped people’s attention that America’s first African-American president and the world’s first great jazz musician share a birthday. So, slightly belatedly, Happy Birthday, Louis!
Here’s a good piece on him:
Why Louis Armstrong is still the greatest.
What is all too easily forgotten in any discussion about Armstrong is the simple fact that he was the single most revolutionary exponent of the most revolutionary music of the Twentieth Century. Long before he became the jovial entertainer the world remembers, he almost single-handedly created jazz as we know it today.
For my own part, all I’d say is that if you’ve never heard the Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings, you need to do so at the earliest opportunity. That’s where it all started.
Here’s Louis and his All-Stars from the early 50s: