Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life

Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life

Paperback

By (author) Laurence Bergreen

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  • Publisher: BROADWAY BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 564 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 212mm x 43mm | 526g
  • Publication date: 1 July 1998
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0767901568
  • ISBN 13: 9780767901567
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 732,434

Product description

Louis Armstrong was the founding father of jazz and one of this century's towering cultural figures. The musical talents of Satchmo - as Armstrong became universally known - were prodigious and groundbreaking. After learning to blow his horn in the bordellos and honky-tonks of Storyville, New Orleans's bustling red-light district, he honed his sound on a Mississippi riverboat and later became a featured solo trumpeter in the nightclub bands of Chicago and New York, where his stunning musicianship, gravelly voice, and irrepressible personality captivated audiences and critics alike. Countless recordings, nonstop touring of America and Europe, a radio show - the first ever hosted by a black man - and film appearances catapulted him to international stardom, yet he always remained true to himself and loyal to his roots. Despite his successes, Armstrong's career was also marked by intense struggle - against the Depression, against the Chicago gangsters of the 1930s, and, above all, against racial prejudice.

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Author information

Laurence Bergreen was born in New York City and educated at Harvard University. He is the author of "As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin" (winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award); "James Agee: A Life;" and "Capone: The Man and the Era." A frequent contributor to "Esquire, Newsweek, " the "New York Times, " and other publications, he lives in New York City with his family.

Review quote

"Bergreen writes with genuine love and respect for Armstrong's art....This is likely to be the standard biography of Armstrong for some time." "--Washington Post" "A full-bodied portrait of the artist and the man that is far more interesting than his already colorful legend." "--USA Today" "No one has done a better job than Bergreen of making emotional sense of Armstrong's four marriages and uncounted affairs. . . . The fullest and frankest account of Armstrong to date." "--Boston Sunday Globe" "A meticulously researched, vibrant biography, which has the potential to become the definitive word on Armstrong's life and remarkable career." "--Variety"

Flap copy

Louis Armstrong was the founding father of jazz and one of this century's towering cultural figures, yet the full story of his extravagant life has never been told. Born in 1901 to the sixteen-year-old daughter of a slave, he came of age among the prostitutes, pimps, and rag-and-bone merchants of New Orleans. He married four times and enjoyed countless romantic involvements in and around his marriages. A believer in marijuana for the head and laxatives for the bowels, he was also a prolific diarist and correspondent, a devoted friend to celebrities from Bing Crosby to Ella Fitzgerald, a perceptive social observer, and, in his later years, an international goodwill ambassador. And, of course, he was a dazzling musician. From the bordellos and honky-tonks of Storyville--New Orleans's red light district--to the upscale nightclubs in Chicago, New York, and Hollywood, Armstrong's stunning playing, gravelly voice, and irrepressible personality captivated audiences and critics alike. Recognized and beloved wherever he went, he nonetheless managed to remain vigorously himself. Now Laurence Bergreen's remarkable book brings to life the passionate, courageous, and charismatic figure who forever changed the face of American music.