PhotoStory5: Louis Armstrong - JazzWax

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July 16, 2009


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Stijn Houwer

Louis in quite a mellow mood -- no signs of reefer madness ;-))

Pompy Pompadopolous

Good photo!

My guess for the non-smile was lack of Swiss Kriss....but killer heat will do it, too.

"I take my Swiss Kriss, man, they keep you rollin'. Old Methuselah, he'd have been here with us if he had known about them." -- Louis Armstrong in [The Louis Armstrong Story] by Max Jones & John Chilton, p. 220.

Tyree Glenn: The Leader's eye fell on Glenn's ample figure. 'I've got him on Swiss Kriss', Louis said, 'and told him he'll soon be feelin' the benefit. If he doesn't lose 25 lbs. I'll kiss your ... and not notice it. Fact is Tyree's already benefitting. He told me, "Pops, the trouble is I hardly have time to take my jacket off." Louis slapped his thigh and roared with laughter at the picture. 'I said, "Never mind that; it ain't your jacket you got to worry about, daddy." --also p. 220.

Jazz Lunatique

I love this photo. It is one of the few that do not show Louis with his excellent, teeth gleaming smile. It is a whole other dimension to his image. There is another one like this - I think a Herman Leonard - maybe backstage in Paris, with Louis looking off to the right of the image with a pensive, almost worried look in his performance suit holding a hankerchief. It's another one where he doesn't look like the gleeful jazzman.

Armstrong was a man of great depth, the American Buddha.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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