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Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Gary Giddins has been called "the best jazz writer in America today" (Esquire). Louis Armstrong has been called the most influential jazz musician of the century. Together this auspicious pairing has resulted in Satchmo, one of the most vivid and fascinating portraits ever drawn of perhaps the greatest figure in the history of American music. Available now at a new price, ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published January 18th 2001 by Da Capo Press (first published November 1st 1988)
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First, let me confess my bias: I will argue anytime, anywhere, with anyone that Louis Armstrong is the single greatest artist the United States has produced, in any medium -- so a book subtitled “The Genius of Louis Armstrong” had me at the cover. That being said, I think I’m being not-too-terribly subjective when I say that this slim volume does an excellent job of surveying Armstrong’s life and work and placing them in their social, cultural, and political contexts. Gary Giddens -- my favorite ...more
Laurence Martin Pierce
Fantastic insight into the life of an American Icon

It wasn't until I watched Ken Burns JAZZ that I realized what a great and pivotal talent Pops Armstrong was. When I saw his biography offered on my Kindle, I jumped at the chance to read it. The author cuts cleanly through the mythology and misinterpretations of his life, and through his, the authors, obvious extensive knowledge of music, manages to convey what an ingenious talent Louis Armstrong was.
Satchmo is a hard man to write about, to be honest, with you. Your writing style can't match the elegance of his trumpet, and a lot has been said about him, some of it badly thought-out.

Gary Giddins had written a fresh appraisal of Armstrong that set the standard for future biographical treatments, i.e., Terry Teachout's 2009 "Pops." His careful linking of the artistic purpose of Armstrong with his antics on the stage as entertainer is what good criticism should look like, if an example is ever
I registered a book at!
Hector Gallegos
Too concise, but extremely well written and gets the job done so you can have a great idea why Pops is important.
Terrific picture of who the man was, with great respect for the integrity of his whole career
Joshua Kennedy
A good biography of Armstrong's career. Nothing spectacular, but it'll do.
Aug 08, 2013 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates true greatness
A useful introduction to the greatness that was Louis Armstrong.
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