Book Review (Illustrated): Pops

Terry Teachout, Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong (Houghton Mifflin, 474 pages, $30) A good biography of a musician makes the reader want to listen. Alexander Wheelock Thayer triggered that compulsion with his life of Beethoven, Marion Hildesheimer with Mozart, Richard Sudhalter with Bix Beiderbecke. Terry Teachout's Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong can be a workout; all that getting up and down. Reading it, I repeatedly set aside the book to go to the shelves and exhume Armstrong recordings. … [Read more...]

Pops In Full Flight

Critical carping and misguided stylistic arguments aside, in every period of his career Louis Armstrong was formidable in his playing and singing. His appearance with the All-Stars at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival reminded many who had taken Armstrong for granted of the power of his art. Through Bert Stern's and Aram Avakian's film Jazz On A Summer's Day, his performance that night has reached untold thousands of listeners miles and years beyond the concert in Freebody Park. The All-Stars were … [Read more...]