Wednesday, July 6, 2011


If you happen to have a near-mint copy of Satchmo Serenades somewhere in your pile of old albums it could be worth $60-100.  The catch, as always, is that near-mint caveat.  Satchmo Serenades,  DECCA (DL5401) 10-inch album, 1953

Louis Daniel Armstrong, jazz trumpeter great, died thirty years ago on this day.  He’s been a long time gone, but his influence lingers. 

Armstrong was a talented and relentless raconteur and for his biographers the task of separating truth from fiction has been a challenge.   But what is clearly known is that Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo, had a stage presence and a talent that won over vast audiences at a time when that was an almost insurmountable challenge for an African-American man.  Few could resist that all-over smile and the delight he seemed to take from performing.

Armstrong’s influence extended well beyond the jazz world.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his contribution as an early influence that filtered down through jazz to pop and ultimately to rock and roll.  As Armstrong himself put it: “ If it hadn’t been for jazz, there wouldn’t be no rock and roll.”

Like a country road, Armstrong’s gravelly voice can take you to some amazing places if you don’t mind a bit of a bumpy ride. And the recordings he left behind can still make you believe it is, indeed, a wonderful world.

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