Read Louis Armstrong's New Orleans by Thomas Brothers Online


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 DeepIn 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....

Title : Louis Armstrong's New Orleans
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393330014
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans Reviews

  • Bruce
    2019-02-03 01:39

    This is not a biography of Louis Armstrong though it more than touches upon his 'career'. By describing the music scene of New Orleans during the late 19th and early 20th century the author provides a theory on the development of 'jazz' and Armstrong's music. Several musicians were part of the music scene in which Armstrong grew up. Many are named in this work but there are others such as Sanctified Church congregations with their style of singing, of the funeral bands, of the dance bands, of the 'rags-bottles and bones men,' who gave Armstrong a 'grounding' in music. An easy enjoyable read.

  • Reggie
    2019-01-24 00:35

    Invaluable look at turn-of-the-century New Orleans and teh world that lead to jazz. Great analysis of the Creole/American-black worlds and their interplays, schisms, and synergies with one another.

  • Brad McKenna
    2019-02-12 06:39

    Using Armstrong as the thread, Mr. Brothers weaves the story of how Jazz developed in New Orleans. The slaves displaced by their very freedom traveled away from the farms into the cities. They brought with them the field hollers of their fathers (and grandfathers) as well as the musical raucous religious tradition that was as boisterous as the white men's religion was solemn. Together with the suffering that comes with being black in the Antebellum south, those two traits helped form The Blues. Yet alongside the Blues rose Jazz, where being able to read was actually considered an impediment. Proving that even persecution isn't strait forward, I also learned about how the Creole culture came into play. Those mixed race folks could sometimes pass off as white, which opened up the better paying gigs. The sociological aspects of the story were fascinating. (It even mentions how pimping was a favorite past time for early Jazz innovators, Louis was no exception). However, the musicology parts of the book were lost on me. That, and the fact that he reiterated the points in my first paragraph time and time again, forces me to only give it 2 stars. It's a fairly good, but ultimately unsatisfactory read for folks that aren't adept in music, like me.

  • Phil Overeem
    2019-01-26 05:56

    A probing book that makes strong arguments that a) Armstrong excelled and innovated because of, not in spite of, the environment in which he grew to manhood; and b) Armstrong's music, and jazz in general, became what it was in its early years not simply as a result of New Orleans' gumbo of influences, but as a result of musicians' conscious choices not to abandon the traditions, tricks, and values of underclass black America that reached back to slavery and provided armor, and arms, against Jim Crow. The chapters are roughly divided into said elements that fed into Armstrong's growth. At times, Brothers write glowingly--when he balances his research, description, musical acumen, and speculative thinking; at others, his academicism bogs the book down. Overall, I am very happy I read it, however.

  • Kate
    2019-02-20 02:49

    This book was incredible. It only spans about 20 years (between when Armstrong was born and when he left New Orleans for Chicago in 1922) but brings together the socio/political/economic/historical/cultural/just-about-everything-else factors in play in New Orleans during that time. It is approached through the lens of how these elements influenced Armstrong's development as a musician and the evolution of Jazz as a genre. If you have every wanted to really nerd out about early Jazz, I recommend it. I predict that I will be berating people who have no interest in jazz with amazing facts from this book for years.

  • molly
    2019-01-29 03:58

    Fantastic guide to the cultural forces at work in the formation of jazz; excellent early biography of New Orleans; and a sorta piece of retroactive social justice, in being explicit about the very real racism and disenfranchisement surrounding early jazz.

  • Robert Rosenberg
    2019-02-03 05:51

    what a place and time to be a musician and how did he overcome all of his disadvantages? incredible.

  • Torellana1014
    2019-01-21 05:01

    A history of New Orleans told through the perspective of Louis Armstrong's life. Really interesting analysis of the aesthetic choices that went into Louis' style.

  • Stephen Terrell
    2019-02-04 23:44

    This is a very difficult book to rate. For the historical content and the fascinating history of the development of jazz and blues in New Orleans, it is definitely a five-star book. But the writing . . .Written by an academic, the book at times becomes so dry and lost in technical minutia of music, that it makes an incredible story, well, kind of boring. And making the first 20 years of the 20th Century in New Orleans boring is its own special kind of sin.The book focuses primarily on the development of music during the formative years of Louis Armstrong from his birth in (or around) 1900, until he left New Orleans for Chicago to join the King Oliver band. The book covers the musical roots of what grew to be American jazz and modern blues -- and eventually rock-n-roll. It explores the evolution of music from the holler and response of the plantation fields, to the free form music of the Sanctified churches of New Orleans, to competition between non-music reading black downtown bands, uptown music-reading Creole bands, and the classically trained white bands. Although it is not a biography of Louis Armstrong or anyone else, it also touches on Armstrong's early years (including his formative one-year stay at the New Orleans Colored Waif's Home), as well as some of the other important music figures during this time such as Buddy Boldon, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton.This book is part cultural history, part sociology, part music history, and all fascinating. Despite the fact there are parts you just have to slog through because of the writing style, it is well worth the read.

  • Mark
    2019-01-31 01:52

    Prose is a bit plodding and dry. But really interesting once you get past that. It’s not really an armstrong biography although it has lots of biographical elements. Sine info is scant on his life at this time it’s more what life was like in Armstrong’s New Orleans.

  • Marti
    2019-01-30 02:46

    I only wish this book had come with a CD of sampler of the types of music and sounds that Armstrong grew up hearing in New Orleans. For example, "freak" music (played outside freak shows) and the theme song for "rags-bottles-and-bones" men (whose song alerted people to bring their empties for recycling).

  • David
    2019-02-11 01:33

    Heavey going. but interesting.

  • Ellen
    2019-01-31 04:49

    Saw this book on a shelf at my Airbnb rental this weekend (in, where else, New Orleans). Didn't have time to read it while I was there but looking forward to checking it out later.

  • Katharine Holden
    2019-01-25 23:45

    Full of detail, but rather disorganized.