Just asking

1 Response

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Rod,

    For a child prodigy to be enjoyed 200 years from today I would be tipping my hat to Louis Armstrong.

    Not the all-too-familiar “Hello Dolly!” Louis, but the much younger Louis whose Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings turned the music world on its ear in the late 1920s. To this day musicologists publish books, let alone scholarly research papers about these 79 recordings.

    Like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and many other classical music luminaries, going by the best thinking to date Louis simply ‘knew what to do’ in developing his own musical voice. Nobody had to show him; nobody could.

    All great artists (whose work becomes timeless) seem to baffle the rest of us mortals this way. Dante, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Palladio, Martha Graham, Caruso, Picasso and many others simply ‘knew what to do’.

    So what about Louis? On one hand he and Bing Crosby developed America’s popular song stylings, and on the other Louis’ virtuosity on the trumpet influenced just about every musician who followed, regardless of genre. His influence is felt to this day.

    At age 7 Louis had formed his own vocal quartet in the dirty and dangerous section of New Orleans as a means of taking home change for food, and at 17 was asked by a senior jazz parade leader to “Get your horn, boy.” and step into the parade. At the end the members all greed that up until that hot afternoon they had heard more blues in two hours from a skinny, short 17-year-old than they had heard in all their lives.

    There are numerous sources which examine his abilities in minute detail, but Benny Green, the great jazz saxaphone player put it well a number of years ago: “Anybody could learn what Louis Armstrong knows about music in a few weeks; nobody could learn to play like him in a thousand years.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *