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Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong av Terry…
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Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong (utgåvan 2009)

av Terry Teachout

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
257877,632 (4.27)28
Louis Armstrong was the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century and a giant of modern American culture. Offstage he was witty, introspective and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with an explosive temper whose larger-than-life personality was tougher and more sharp-edged than his worshipping fans ever knew. Wall Street Journal arts columnist Terry Teachout has drawn on new sources unavailable to previous biographers, including hundreds of private recordings of backstage and after-hours conversations, to craft a sweeping new narrative biography of this towering figure that shares, for the first time, full, accurate versions of such storied events as Armstrong's quarrel with President Eisenhower and his decision to break up his big band.--From publisher description.… (mer)
Medlem:Petersos
Titel:Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
Författare:Terry Teachout
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2009), Hardcover, 496 pages
Samlingar:Artists and Innovators, Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Music, Jazz

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Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong av Terry Teachout

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Visa 1-5 av 8 (nästa | visa alla)
Pops is an eminently readable, compelling, and entertaining biography of one of the most important and monumental figures in jazz and 20th century pop culture.

Louis Armstrong personally witnessed the birth of jazz and apprenticed at the feet of the men who invented it. As much as anyone, Armstrong brought jazz out of its New Orleans-Chicago milieu and into the world at large, and he continued to work in the jazz industry past the point that rock ‘n’ roll superseded it as the pop music of America. For good and for ill, and for over half a century, Armstrong remained one of the most important personalities and towering talents of jazz.

Mr. Teachout does a fine job of exploring both the good and the ill of Armstrong’s life. Indeed, this biography is important in large part because it offers an honest look into the private man who wasn’t always as jovial and accepting as his public persona would have us believe. It’s the first non-scholarly, mass market popular biography of Armstrong to take full advantage of new and previously unexplored biographical material. As such, it offers a critical reassessment of the man.

The controversy that surrounded Louis Armstrong in his later years – his role in the world of jazz and the perceived worthiness of his music – is one of the most important aspects of his story, and Mr. Teachout devotes far more page-space to these later years than most biographers before him. But such is necessary in order to truly come to terms with Armstrong’s significant musical and cultural legacy. It’s good that Mr. Teachout doesn't dismiss this period outright as so many others seek to do.

If there’s one thing to criticize in Pops, it’s that Mr. Teachout’s conclusion is hagiographic almost to the point of embarrassment. However, he makes his feelings about Armstrong clear from the beginning and throughout the work, so this conclusion certainly doesn’t come as a surprise. And honestly – it’s a conclusion that seems well supported by the evidence. Finally, I can’t bring myself to hold it against the author that he brings such passionate conviction to his work. As he states in the "Afterward" – this isn’t a scholarly biography, it’s a narrative one. As such, the author’s personal conviction should be the driving force of the narrative.

Of course, that presents a double-edged sword – this book would be quite frustrating for those who don’t agree with Mr. Teachout’s conclusion.

I feel, though, that Pops is well worth the time of anyone who’s interested in learning more about Louis Armstrong, or more about the history of jazz. ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
Louis Armstrong is one of the legends of twentieth century music. During five decades as a performer he thrilled audiences with his cornet and trumpet virtuosity, while his gravelly voice made him one of the most popular and recognizable singers of his day. Such a career became the stuff of legend, making it difficult to discern the truth underneath. In this book, Terry Teachout undertakes the difficult task to sift though the legend to discover the man underneath.

In this he is aided by Armstrong, who left behind two autobiographies and numerous audio recordings. From them we learn a man unashamed of his impoverished beginnings in the "black Storyville" neighborhood of New Orleans. The musical scene of the town's brothels and clubs provided the young Armstrong with both his early musical education and his first employment. Teachout goes on to describe his journey during the 1920s from promising young cornet player into the headlining talent he became by the end of the decade. Teachout rightly gives this period, one that saw some of his most innovative music, considerable attention, but he challenges critics such as Gunther Schuller who dismiss Armstrong's work with the big bands of the 1930s and 1940s. These decades dominate the biography, taking up eight of the book's twelve chapters. The final chapters chronicle the established entertainer who faced the twin challenges of aging and the disdainful attitude of the younger generation of musicians who followed in his giant footsteps.

In examining Armstrong's life, Teachout brings to bear his skills as detective and storyteller. He succeeds in depicting a very human yet enormously gifted performer, a talented musician who was also a superb entertainer. His book easily supersedes earlier biographies of Armstrong in its thoroughness and readability, yet it remains frustratingly incomplete by itself. For while Teachout does an admirable job of describing Armstrong's music, the book really is best enjoyed when accompanied by the songs Teachout describes. Though the author identified thirty songs in an appendix that can be downloaded by the reader, the sheer amount of music he describes warrants more comprehensive collections. It is only when listening to them in conjunction with Teachout's book that the degree of Armstrong's achievement is best understood. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
A super biography, both easy to read and interesting. I learned a lot, not only about Louis Armstrong and his music, but also about the world in which he performed--whether that meant the effects of early recording technology on the way bands played during their sessions; how the mob was tied up with Louis' business and served as impetus for his first trips to Europe; or how Louis responded to the standoff between Eisenhower and Governor Faubus after the supreme court ordered desegregation of Arkansas schools.

Teachout refers to the book as a narrative biography and that provides a good description of the easy way the book reads. He also allows Louis to speak for himself much of the time, and includes a lot of straight quotation of the man's own words. ( )
  pdever | Jan 10, 2017 |
I am sure it is just me, but I couldn't get through this. The level of detail about the music and various characters I am sure will be fascinating to some, but for me it became work.
  MLBowers | Nov 3, 2013 |
One of my favorite reads in 2010.
  bfodavid | Jan 2, 2011 |
Visa 1-5 av 8 (nästa | visa alla)
With “Pops,” his eloquent and important new biography of Armstrong, the critic and cultural historian Terry Teachout restores this jazzman to his deserved place in the pantheon of American artists, building upon Gary Giddins’s excellent 1988 study, “Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong,” and offering a stern rebuttal of James Lincoln Collier’s patronizing 1983 book, “Louis Armstrong: An American Genius.”
 
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Louis Armstrong was the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century and a giant of modern American culture. Offstage he was witty, introspective and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with an explosive temper whose larger-than-life personality was tougher and more sharp-edged than his worshipping fans ever knew. Wall Street Journal arts columnist Terry Teachout has drawn on new sources unavailable to previous biographers, including hundreds of private recordings of backstage and after-hours conversations, to craft a sweeping new narrative biography of this towering figure that shares, for the first time, full, accurate versions of such storied events as Armstrong's quarrel with President Eisenhower and his decision to break up his big band.--From publisher description.

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