Louis Armstrong's New Orleans

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9780393061093: Louis Armstrong's New Orleans

The richly evocative tale of a musician, his city, and the origins of jazz.

In the early twentieth century, New Orleans was a place of colliding identities and histories, and Louis Armstrong was a gifted young man of psychological nimbleness. A dark-skinned, impoverished child, he grew up under low expectations, Jim Crow legislation, and vigilante terrorism. Yet he also grew up at the center of African American vernacular traditions from the Deep South, learning the ecstatic music of the Sanctified Church, blues played by street musicians, and the plantation tradition of ragging a tune.

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans interweaves a searching account of early twentieth-century New Orleans with a narrative of the first twenty-one years of Armstrong's life. Drawing on a stunning body of first-person accounts, this book tells the rags-to-riches tale of Armstrong's early life and the social and musical forces that shaped him. The city and the musician are both extraordinary, their relationship unique, and their impact on American culture incalculable. 16 pages of illustrations.

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About the Author:

Thomas Brothers is the author of Chromatic Beauty in the Late-Medieval Chanson and Louis Armstrong: In His Own Words. A professor of music at Duke University, he lives with his family in Durham, North Carolina.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. In this many-sided chronicle of Armstrong's early life, Brothers (Louis Armstrong: In His Own Words) paints a passionate, intimate picture of the teeming musical brew of early 20th-century New Orleans and how it was uniquely suited to nurture both jazz and Armstrong's exceptional musical talents. "Armstrong lived a childhood of poverty, on the margins of society, and this position put him right in the middle of the vernacular traditions that were fueling the new music of which he would eventually become one of the world's greatest masters," Brothers writes. As he shows in his erudite narrative, "Little Louis" was influenced by a number of local factors: the heterophonic singing in his mother's Sanctified church; the blues music of "rags-bottles-and-bones" men who played on three-foot-long tin horns; the sights he witnessed peeking into Funky Butt Hall, where "chicks would get way down, shake everything"; and the ubiquitous marching bands that provided music for parties, dances, parades and, famously, funerals. Brothers's contention that Armstrong was immersed in this vernacular music comes across more strongly than it does in other biographies. Armstrong's music, Brothers says, was "shaped by the complex social forces surrounding him," ranging from Jim Crow oppression to Creole separation. The integration of biography, musical history and cultural study make this a rich, satisfying and thought-provoking read. 16 pages of illus. (Mar.)
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Brothers, Thomas
Published by W. W. Norton, New York and London (2006)
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Book Description W. W. Norton, New York and London, 2006. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Illustrated (illustrator). First Edition. New York and London: Norton, 2006. First Edition. 8vo. Hardcover binding, 386 pp. including index. Black and white illustrations and photographs. A detailed look at New Orleans and Louis Armstrong. New in new dustjacket. Size: 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # 014453

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Book Description W. W. Norton, New York and London, 2006. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Illustrated (illustrator). First Edition. New York: Norton, 2006. First Edition. 8vo. Hardcover binding, 386 pp. including index. Black and white illustrations and photographs. A detailed look at New Orleans and Louis Armstrong. New in new dustjacket, protected by an archival-quality mylar cover. Size: 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # 017914

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Book Description W. W. Norton, New York and London, 2006. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Illustrated (illustrator). First Edition. New York: Norton, 2006. First Edition. 8vo. Hardcover binding, 386 pp. including index. Black and white illustrations and photographs. A detailed look at New Orleans and Louis Armstrong. New in new dustjacket, protected by an archival-quality mylar cover. Size: 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # 019522

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