Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong has received yet another pre-publication rave, this one in the August issue of Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association. Here’s an excerpt:
Teachout excels when explaining such things as why the early Armstrong recordings with his Hot Five and Seven groups are cornerstones of jazz. He provides a fresh musician’s perspective when analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of such foundational compositions as “Heebie Jeebies” and “West End Blues.” Teachout also argues for the merits of Armstrong’s popular music done in the manner of Bing Crosby. And he disagrees with the later bebop players who didn’t like Armstrong’s act, which they viewed as pandering to white audiences. What they didn’t understand, and what Teachout vigorously argues while simultaneously revealing the soul of his subject, is that being an entertainer was wrapped up in Armstrong’s personality and genius. Ultimately, Teachout’s fine biography shows how much of Armstrong’s love of music–and people–was behind that signature million-watt smile….
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A boy must peddle his book, so I now have a personalized author page at Amazon. To see it, go here.