By 1961 jazz was falling out of favour with the general public but this shows two of the most important people in early jazz still able to produce amazing music year after they have fallen out of the spotlight.
Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong
b. 4th August 1901, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 6th July 1971, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
Louis Daniel Armstrong (he preferred his given name pronounced as Lewie or Louie; also known by the nicknames Satchmo, for satchel-mouth, and Pops) was an American jazz musician. Armstrong was a charismatic, innovative performer whose musical skills and bright personality transformed jazz from a rough regional dance music into a popular art form. One of the most famous jazz musicians of the 20th century, he first achieved fame as a trumpeter, but toward the end of his career he was best known as a vocalist and was one of the most influential jazz singers.
“Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don’t want it.”
Ellington was an outstanding composer. He wrote thousands of works, composing popular songs, art songs, a wide variety of instrumentals, suites, symphonic works, movie and TV scores, and music for ballet - all of a very high quality. But to say merely that Ellington was a great composer ignores his achievement as a musician. Ellington is probably the only musician whose name has been associated with a particular style “Ellingtonia”. This style does not imply a specific tempo or specific mood, but also a certain standard of quality. Whoever plays “Ellingtonia” must adhere to these standards. Many significant bands have attempted to copy his style. Only Ellington’s musicians have succeeded. For Jazz, Ellington was the first orchestra leader to substitute voices for instruments, he popularized the Baritone Sax when he engaged Harry Carney, he influenced countless bands and dance orchestras. Begining with his “Jungle Band” to his “Famous Orchestra” which appeared at Carnegie Hall numerous times and even introduced several Jazz suite that Duke had composed, Ellington his the most successful and important orchestra leader in Jazz history. Success did not come easily. It took him many years of devoted works to make a name for himself. He began as a Ragtime pianist in his hometown of Washington. His first composition was “Soda Fountain Rag” which he never recorded. In 1922 he led a fairly successful band which featured Sonny Greer and Otto Hardwick. Several years later, when he opened at the New York Kentuky Club he succeeded in capture the public fancy. This was the first band to capture the now legendary Ellington sound which is clearly present in the number ”The Creeper”, recorded at the end of 1926. On April 12, 1927, Duke & his orchestra began the engagement which was to make him world famous: Irvin Mills brought them to the Cotton Club, people were laying odds that they wouldn’t last the month there…They stayed five years. There he layed the Jungle, the Mood and other styles. From December 1926 to October 1930 the Ellington band spent at least 64 days in the studios of 14 recording companies, using 18 different pseudonyms for his band, they recorded about 170 titles.
Edited by megajazz on 29 Aug 2009, 14:17
Sources (view history)
discogs.com & wikipedia.org
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