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What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years
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What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  9 reviews

Prodigiously researched and richly detailed, this is a comprehensive account of the remarkable final twenty-five years of the life and art of one of America’s greatest and most beloved musical icons.

Much has been written about Louis Armstrong, but the majority of it focuses on the early and middle stages of his long career. Now, Ricky Riccardi—jazz scholar and musician—tak

Hardcover, 369 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Pantheon (first published 2010)
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Mikey B.
The basic premise of this book is that the post-world War II Armstrong was just as innovative and as powerful a musical personality as he was with his Hot-5 and Hot-7 groups in the 1920’s and 1930’s when jazz was introduced to the U.S., and then the entire world. There are some jazz enthusiasts who dismiss the post 1945 Louis Armstrong; Ricky Riccardi has the contrary viewpoint.

Like the author I believe that this era, with Louis Armstrong’s powerful vocalizations, vaulted him to an untouchable m
Aug 10, 2011 Harold rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Musicians and anyone interested in music.
Shelves: bio-autobio, music
Nicely detailed read of a period of Armstrong's life that is glossed over by most of his biographers.
In 1947 Louis Armstrong disbanded his big band and formed "The All Stars", a six piece unit he would work with until his death in 1972. When first formed the group truly was an all star aggregation. All the members were jazz luminaries. Over the years, as the personel changed, the stars were replaced by musicians known within the music world but not known to the general public as well as those of
Byron Stripling
Just finished reading this incredible book. It was like reading a song! Ricky Riccardi has created a fantastic, heartfelt, gloriously beautiful biography of Louis Armstrong. He is one of the first serious authors with the courage to confront the legitimacy of Armstrong's later days and he does it with an honest, deep seated love for the man and his music. I was moved throughout the book and even found myself fighting back tears as he soulfully painted the the ups and downs of Louis' final years. ...more
Jake Cole
Riccardi's book frequently dips into hagiography, but he captures the passion and artistry of Satchmo's late-period music in minute detail. You can hear the pain in Armstrong's reading of his protest anthem "Black and Blue" in a concert in East Berlin, the roars of laughter that greeted Armstrong's sly jokes as critics pooh-poohed his clownish antics, even the ferocity of Trummy Young's bawdy trombone on Armstrong's finest LP, Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy. Riccardi's fantastic research pays ...more
Gloria James
I don't understand the reader who said the writing here is "dense." I found this book easy and fascinating to read. Riccardi writes with love and passion. For years I've tried to tell people that Louis' last 20 years were filled with musical wisdom, energy, and beauty. Finally, my opinion has been justified. I highly recommend this fine book.
An amazing book about an amazing man, an absolute read for anyone who loves Louis Armstrong and Jazz! Here we see Mr. Armstrong in the later years of his life and he was ever the humble unique individual he had been since birth. It touches on everything, from his fame, his illnesses, the critics and the admireres that followed him in his life and afterwards. A very well written book for a genius like Louis Armstrong who was in his own words a pioneer and there won't be another one like him and y ...more
Jun 25, 2011 chaz2b marked it as to-read
= 062511 Jazz Historian’s 15-Year Dream: Book on Louis Armstrong
Terry Dullum
Good stuff. The story of the last twenty years of Armstrong's life.
So incredibly dense. It took me 3 minutes to read a page!
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