Louis Armstrong. "Satchmo." To millions of fans, he was just a great entertainer. But to jazz aficionados, he was one of the most important musicians of our times -- not only a key figure in the history of jazz but a formative influence on all of 20th-century popular music. Here for the first time is the full story of Armstrong's life and music -- told by award-winning author and fellow brassman James Lincoln Collier.
Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York during the "jazz age," Collier re-creates the saga of an old-fashioned black man making it in a white world. He chronicles Armstrong's rise as a musician, analyzes Armstrong's evolving musical style, and demonstrates how, almost single-handedly, he remodeled jazz and had an effect on rock, pop, and even classical music. He also sheds light on Armstrong's endless need for approval, his streak of jealousy, and perhaps most important, what some consider his betrayal of his gift as he opted for commercial success and stardom.
A unique biography, knowledgeable, insightful, and packed with information, it ends with Armstrong's death in 1971 as one of the best-known figures in American entertainment.