Louis Armstrong in 2 Minutes, 53 Seconds

Who can argue with the premise that Louis Armstrong was the single biggest influence on the development of jazz?

Thought I’d share this succinct encapsulation of the magic of Armstrong courtesy of Ben Ratliff, NYTimes.

This track “Dinah,” filmed on a sound stage in Denmark, 1933, is a short and efficient answer for why he was and is important. You sense he’s building his brand — the stuff with the handkerchief, getting up in the viewer’s grill, popping his eyes at .55 — but it’s still pretty extreme, and exciting.

Listen to the way he chopped up rhythm, sailing his phrases over the beat. You want to say he’s imitating a trumpet when he sings, but then you want to say vice versa, so neither can be true. He’s continuous, playing or singing something nearly all the way through, making his body part of the performance.

Also, watch the band’s feet.

Vodpod videos no longer available.



~ by john on November 27, 2009.

One Response to “Louis Armstrong in 2 Minutes, 53 Seconds”

  1. He was beautiful.

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