Satchmo for the New Century


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A wonderful new biography by Terry Teachout. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

UNTIL THE DAY HE DIED, LOUIS ARMSTRONG CLAIMED that he was born on July 4, 1900. He said so in Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans and Swing That Music, his two published memoirs, and on innumerable other occasions, and while at least one biographer found the date too pat to be plausible, it was only in 1988 that a researcher located an entry in Latin for “Armstrong (niger, illegitimus)” in the handwritten baptismal register of New Orleans’ Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. According to that record, Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, the natural son of William Armstrong (known as Willie), who spent most of his adult life working in a turpentine factory, and Mary Ann Albert (known as Mayann, though her son spelled it different ways over the years), a fifteen-year-old country girl who came to New Orleans to work as a household servant. The event went unremarked by the local papers…

There’s more from NPR, including Mr. Teachout’s Favorite 5 Armstrong Recordings

One thought on “Satchmo for the New Century

  1. Jingle December 5, 2009 / 10:17 pm

    thank you for the creative writing!

    Looks awesome!

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