Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Was Louis Armstrong the First Great American Modernist?

“Master of Modernism and Creator of His Own Song Style” read the posters for Jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong when he appeared in Memphis, Tennessee in late 1931 at the end of a decade of development that saw him take the raw talent spawned in his hometown of New Orleans and spread it across all of America, bringing not just jazz, but modernism itself to both black and white audiences. In Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism, musicologist and Duke University professor Thomas Brothers traces the trajectory of Armstrong’s rise against the backdrop of the racial and cultural divisions of early 20th century America. Brothers takes readers deep inside the art of Armstrong and dismisses both the myth of Louis’ naïve, unlearned talent and the criticism of Louis’ sellout to white tastes with the ease of the master hitting a high note. In Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism, Louis Armstrong emerges not just as the founding father of jazz (and all American popular music that follows in its wake), but as the first true modernist of American art. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Was Louis Armstrong the First Great American Modernist?"

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