Bruno Leicht writes from Germany, embedding a weekend viewing and listening present.
Browsing YouTube can be an adventure. Never seen this film before. Louis Armstrong and the All Stars at Newport, 1958. — Please listen and look closely. Miles was wrong; Pops was no Uncle Tom. This man WAS serious, nothing else but a super-professional artist here. Just watch him play his trumpet, look at his face when he announces the last number: Absolutely no traces of “Uncle Tom”, except the joy of performing some funny lyrics of Rockin’ Chair with a surprise guest.
Pops was a man of jazz: Deep, concerned and totally focussed on the music, on the people he performed with, and on the audiences he played for. His sound is so clear and strong here, I’m completely overwhelmed.
Especially on minute 2:26 is a particularly brilliant phrase, two glissandi in a break, perfectly timed … can’t describe them … It’s amazing how he does that. Pure genius to me. No one else could do such little big things as convincingly as Louis Armstrong.
Bruno Leicht says
I’m afraid I have to correct myself a bit, because I obviously had misquoted Miles. I found a whole encyclopedia entry on Louis Armstrong being NOT, of course, an Uncle Tom. This was part of it:
“Miles Davis, whose disdain for Armstrong’s persona and his musical opinions was as great as his admiration for his trumpet artistry, and who often performed with his back to the audience, distancing himself as much as possible from the role of musician as entertainer, was asked if Armstrong was an Uncle Tom, replied (quoting Billie Holiday), ‘When Louis Armstrong Toms, he Toms from the heart.'”
The entire entry is at this url:
No need to apologize for Louis behavior on or off stage. No need to take the stoners Miles and Billie seriously except when they’re on stage. In the history of the world, there was Louis and then there was everybody else.
Charlton Price says
That Satch clip from YouTube is from the unforgettable “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” –even more memorable when enhanced by his onstage remarks before, and his “Rockin’ Chair” with Teagarten after, IMO.
Bruno Leicht says
“…there was Louis and then there was everybody else” — Dzimis: That’s too much of a burden on anyone’s shoulders, don’t you think so? — Satch was no saint, was he? — But he was certainly “the” jazz man of the last century. I wish I could have seen him live on stage. Those films and recordings reflect only 50%, if not less, of his energy, the joy he gave to the world.
To Charlton Price:
Yeah, that’s the film. Most of that film is beautifully done, and when you’ve watched it (One should see it on a big screen!), you ask: “Why aren’t there more films like that?” There’s one thing I would have done differently: Thelonious Monk’s part is a bit weird, isn’t it?
Okay, the sailing boats are nice. Anyway, were the shouts of the tillerman really more important than Monk’s performance of his favorite blues “Blue Monk”? — Columbia’s film “Sound of Jazz” corrected that little flaw and showed the artists at work, unaffected from contrived shots on sailing boats … 😉
Sam Tiresias says
Boy, you really were (and had me) confused on the subject. Glad you figured it out and was able to learn something.