I’ve settled on the epigraphs for Rhythm Man: A Life of Louis Armstrong.
The first one comes from a letter written by Armstrong shortly before his death in 1971:
Now I must tell you that my whole life has been happiness.
The second one is a remark made by the great Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi:
Don’t look for obscure formulas, nor for le mystère. It is pure joy I’m giving you.
The Brancusi quote exists in numerous variants, and I went to a good deal of trouble to track it to what appears to be its original source.
The Armstrong quote was originally published in Louis: The Louis Armstrong Story 1900-1971, a book by Max Jones and John Chilton, and is well known to Armstrong scholars.
Here it is in context:
Now I must tell you that my whole life has been happiness. Through all of the misfortunes, etc., I did not plan anything. Life was there for me and I accepted it. And life, what ever came out, has been beautiful to me, and I love everybody.
I hope I feel that way when I’m seventy.