Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong (2020)

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Terry Teachout Pops A Life of Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong is widely known as the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century He was a phenomenally gifted and imaginative artist and an entertainer so irresistibly magnetic that he knocked
  • Title: Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
  • Author: Terry Teachout
  • ISBN: 9780547386379
  • Page: 219
  • Format: Paperback
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Terry Teachout Louis Armstrong is widely known as the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century He was a phenomenally gifted and imaginative artist, and an entertainer so irresistibly magnetic that he knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts four decades after he cut his first record Offstage he was witty, introspective, and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with anLouis Armstrong is widely known as the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century He was a phenomenally gifted and imaginative artist, and an entertainer so irresistibly magnetic that he knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts four decades after he cut his first record Offstage he was witty, introspective, and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with an explosive temper whose larger than life personality was tougher and sharp edged than his worshiping fans ever knew.Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout has drawn on a cache of important new sources unavailable to previous biographers, including hundreds of candid after hours recordings made by Armstrong himself, to craft a sweeping new narrative biography Certain to be the definitive word on Armstrong for our generation, Pops paints a gripping portrait of the man, his world, and his music that will stand alongside Gary Giddins s Bing Crosby and Peter Guralnick s Last Train to Memphis as a classic biography of a major American musician.
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Terry Teachout

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One thought on “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong

  1. BillKerwin

    A relatively short biography 400 pages not counting the bibliography and notes of perhaps the most influential jazz musician of all Terry Teachout not only a good writer but also a former professional bass player who loves trad jazz and yet is no moldy fig with an axe to grind appreciates both Armstrong s seminal Hot Fives and his later commercial recordings He shows us Armstrong in all his complexity the sunny disposition and the explosive rages, the devotion to wife Lucille and his continual [...]

  2. Mikey B.

    On a radio jazz show that I once listened to, the host remarked that There is jazz, and there is Louis Armstrong He is in a class by himself.Never has an American music personality risen to the very top from the very bottom of the heap Louis Armstrong had every lined up against him his race and wretched poverty His mother was fifteen when he was born, and his father was absent His formative years were spent in a rough area of New Orleans where brothels were plentiful and disputes were settled by [...]

  3. GoldGato

    His name was pronounced as Lewis , not the Louis the rest of the world preferred to call him He changed music Period Before Louis Armstrong, there was ragtime and some beginnings of jazz , but it was Pops who made jazz, JAZZ Yet by the time he died in 1971, he was known for his singing and entertaining than for his pivotal use of the trumpet instead of the cornet in twentieth century music.Louis Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans, the Crescent City that could just as well have been ca [...]

  4. Nooilforpacifists

    A dandy of a book For years, I had the pleasure of reading short pieces by Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal, where he was the drama critic He also writes broadly on the arts in Commentary His WSJ articles had this book in my sights for years, especially because Teachout also is a trained musician and jazz bassist But even his drama articles impressed me with the breadth of his erudition his writing is very good, though perhaps not top drawer his insights, however, are both penetrating [...]

  5. Joe

    Even for non music jazz aficionados Louis Armstrong s face, voice and the sound of his horn are easily recognizable He s become inseparable from the city of his birth, New Orleans, and the birth of his music, jazz The mention of his name immediately conjures up the image of Louis immaculately dressed, his trumpet in one hand, white handkerchief for his sweaty brow in the other, poised to entertain with his big smile and never to disappoint his audience With his music and talent he transcended ti [...]

  6. Forrest

    Pops is, by far, the best account of Louis Armstrong s life I ve ever encountered Terry Teachout s narrative is graceful and full of insight, and his esteem for Armstrong shines through every page But reading it, I also realized for the first time how challenging it must be to write about the man Armstrong was an undisputed genius He raised jazz above the level of novelty music and inspired an entire generation of artists with his 1920s Chicago bands and the seminal records of his Hot Five He ev [...]

  7. Clif Brittain

    This book explains as well as anything I ve ever read the kinds of losses our country has suffered as a result of racism Louis Armstrong is probably the greatest American musician of the 20th century, yet he had to develop his style and his music to conform to the confines of racism.How much could he have done in a culture free of racism The most difficult thing for Teachout to explain is the relationship between Glaser, Armstrong s white manager and promoter, and Armstrong Armstrong hired him [...]

  8. Fred Moramarco

    To give you an idea of how much I like this book, I should tell you that half way through it I downloaded The Essential Louis Armstrong for my IPod so I could play the songs after reading Terry Teachout s descriptions of them Teachout is a drama critic and a former professional musician who writes about music with an enthusiasm and detailed accuracy I have never before encountered He takes us into Armstrong s world, from his New Orleans beginnings through his Chicago stint with King Oliver s Cre [...]

  9. Melissa

    I didn t finish this book and I don t think I will The author is clearly a fan of the artist, but between the fawning over Armstrong and name dropping, it was difficult to get a handle on the subject At least I found out that Armstrong s mother and first wife were both prostitutes.

  10. David

    A few years ago I received a Louis Armstrong CD for Christmas from a family member who knew of my appreciation of the great man s music Unfortunately, to my mind at the time, it was a later CD, a collection of his songs with the All Stars, the small combo band he formed in 1947 and continued performing with right up until his death in 1971 I had listened to little of Satchmo s music from this period because I had the same opinion of it that many jazz fans had, i.e that it was the music of a man [...]

  11. Roger

    Pops is billed as the first biography of Armstrong written by a musician Terry Teachout is the drama critic for the Wall Street Journal,sometime Jazz Bassist and Librettist for Operas A musician he may be, an Armstrong disciple he certainly is, which has both good and bad effects on his book.Pops is a comprehensive life of the great man, leavened by much recent research on Armstrong, and by newly accessible material created by him, both on tape and paper The famous birthdate of July 4th 1900 is [...]

  12. Mark

    Louis Armstrong stands as one of the legends of twentieth century music During five decades as a performer he thrilled audiences with his cornet and trumpet virtuosity, while his gravelly voice made him one of the most popular and recognizable singers of his day Such a career became the stuff of legend, making it difficult to discern the truth underneath In this book, Terry Teachout undertakes the difficult task to sift though the legend to discover the man underneath.In this he is aided by Arms [...]

  13. MarcA.

    I was inspired to read this after I saw the terrific one man show, Satchmo at the Waldorf that Mr Teachout wrote based on his research for this fine book Coming late to the field of Armstrong ography , Teachout had the advantage of a wealth of earlier efforts including two autobiographies by the subject himself , plus a trove of new material that has become come available relatively recently and includes hundreds of reels of private tapes recorded by the artist himself over many years The fact t [...]

  14. Josh

    Immediately one of the best musician biographies I have read and among the best biographies, period Teachout s book presents us with a full,robust portrait of Louis Armstrong, his life and times, his towering personality, his art and his music Everything is here His troubled beginnings in New Orleans, his apprenticeship with Joe Oliver, the seminal Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions, his years as a working big band leader, his 1947 Town Hall comeback, the All Stars, his uncomfortable relationship w [...]

  15. Harold

    Seems like there s a new bio of Louis Armstrong every few years This is an excellent one and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Jazz As with the Monk bio, it sent me back to the recordings and I ve been having a ball listening to Pops I recently bought the Mosaic Decca 1930s reissues and I ve been digging them in the best sound ever for that stuff.

  16. Washington Post

    An exceptional biography of, in Teachout s lovely phrase, a major key artist The biography made our top 10 list for 2009.Louis Bayard reviewed it for us washingtonpost wp dyn

  17. Rich Boyett

    If the world listened to the music of Louis Armstrong everyday there would be very little need for antidepressants.

  18. C. Michael

    Pops The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong Terry Teachout 508 Pages ISBN 1906779562 Aurum Press 2014Critic Terry Teachout published his biography of Louis Armstrong, Pops A Life of Louis Armstrong Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2009, republishing it under the present title of Pops The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong in Kindle and hardcover format Qualitatively, the biographies are the same Teachout as biographer has benefitted from all previous Armstrong reportage plus recently released person [...]

  19. Texbritreader

    In the cultural pantheon of 20th century America Louis Satchmo Armstrong occupies a unique place revered as one of the seminal figures in the evolution of Jazz, he was also consistently disdained by critics and jazz buffs alike from the 1930s on for his penchant for artistic populism A master player and brilliant innovator, he was also an endearing and beloved entertainer, who enjoyed clowning for audiences while he engaged in an habitual routine of grinning, eye rolling and mopping his brow wit [...]

  20. Mark

    Pops is a comprehensive birth to death biography of popular jazz icon Louis Armstrong And popular he was the book describes an amazing journey, a rise from a child born of a prostitute in one of the poorest parts of New Orleans to artist, musician, movie star, TV star, diplomat, and, quite literally, one of the most famous and recognizable faces in all of the world The litany of pallbearers at his 1971 funeral speaks to the breadth of his social and artistic life Pearl Bailey, Johnny Carson, Dic [...]

  21. John

    Pops is an eminently readable, compelling, and entertaining biography of one of the most important and monumental figures in jazz and 20th century pop culture.Louis Armstrong personally witnessed the birth of jazz and apprenticed at the feet of the men who invented it As much as anyone, Armstrong brought jazz out of its New Orleans Chicago milieu and into the world at large, and he continued to work in the jazz industry past the point that rock n roll superseded it as the pop music of America Fo [...]

  22. Eric

    finally, the biography Armstrong always deserved tho it is painful to think of all the ways the great man suffered, most of all the awful ingrained institutionalized racism in this country that shaped his personality as a poor street kid in New Orleans and dogged him even into the 1960s when he was an international star but still had to use the colored washroom , ultimately his story of relentless openness optimism his rewarding work ethic coupled with an unmatched artistic genius of such purity [...]

  23. Artur

    Za ma o w tej biografii cz owieka, a za du o fragment w recenzji p yt i opis w pasa y jazzowych Rozczarowuj ca.

  24. Andrew

    This book uses new source materials, including letters and reels of private tapes Armstrong recorded to provide a fresh look at one of the key figures in jazz He was born in New Orleans though not on July 4, 1900 as he always thought among prostitutes and gamblers, and went to a waif s home for shooting a gun on New Year s Eve There he straightened out and learned the cornet.He was highly influential for transforming ragtime and other musical forms in to jazz, and his early small combo recording [...]

  25. Jeff Crompton

    If I could give this biography of Louis Armstrong four and a half stars, I would It s excellent certainly far better than James Lincoln Collier s Armstrong biography, which is an attempt at armchair psychoanalysis than an objective account of Armstrong s life and music I would dock Teachout half a star because I found myself wishing for a detailed account of Pops young adulthood his time playing on the riverboats, with King Oliver s band in Chicago, and the period of the amazing Hot Five recor [...]

  26. John

    Probably in between 3.5 and 4 stars, but worth it My main fear is that it would be a hagiography and it gets close at times But, the book succeeds regardless b c 1 his life and surroundings are very interesting NOLA to Chicago to Harlem to superstardom and 2 the author lays out enough of others criticisms that you get a pretty good sense of what his shortcomings were e.g mob ties, sell out in late career, alleged by later black artists to be Uncle Tom socially non activist etc But I also learned [...]

  27. Carolyn

    It s hard to imagine a better biography of Louis Armstrong The author, a former jazz bassist turned full time writer and critic, traces and analyzes the contributions of the artist to the birth and evolution of jazz with an admiring but clear eyed objectivity He knows jazz and is well qualified to break down both the sublime and the ridiculous of Armstrong s extant recordings, as well as the myths and rumors of his personal life and professional associations Mr Teachout gives credit to the fact [...]

  28. Eric Bittner

    As a huge jazz fan, I have always been a bit uncomfortable with my lack of knowledge about the life and music of Louis Armstrong Lately I ve been attempting to remedy that situation I ve acquired some recordings of his Hot Fives and Sevens, and read this fine biography of the man The author does a good job placing Armstrong into the proper perspective Too often, Armstrong has been judged by the standards of a time other than his own Specifically, his on stage behavior, which has been denigrated [...]

  29. John

    Terrific biography of Armstrong does a great job telling not only the story of his life but also the story of jazz and of 20th century American popular culture Owes a fair amount to Gary Giddens Satchmo, as does every Armstrong bio after Giddens, and embraces but doesn t really advance Giddens revisionist theses that Armstrong s post 1920s work is as important and interesting as his classic Hot 5 and Hot 7 sides, and that Armstrong was not an artist who sold out but rather a genius who never saw [...]

  30. Angie

    It took me 7 months to get through this book I read 23 other books in between these pages Shame on me for allowing that to happen This book is so interesting and thoroughly researched I ve long adored Louis Armstrong, and wanted to find the ultimate biography to learn about his life This certainly is that The parts that bogged down for me were those that any trumpet player or jazz aficionado would find fascinating For me, those were the places that felt like 10th grade history textbook homework [...]

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