Ricky Riccardi, What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years (Pantheon).
In the eulogy at Armstrong’s funeral in 1971, Fred Robbins said, “He was truly the only one of his kind, a titanic figure in his and our time, a veritable Picasso. A Stravinsky. A Casals. A Louis Armstrong.” Many of Armstrong’s critics charged that his artistic stature diminished after 1931, 1940, 1956…(pick a year). Riccardi’s meticulous research and engaging narrative put that notion to rest. Armstrong’s professionalism, toughness, humor and, most of all, the spirit of his music, emanate from the book’s pages. This is an invaluable addition to the Armstrong bibliographyand a great read.