Louis Armstrong was the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century and a giant of modern music culture. He knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts, wrote the finest of all jazz autobiographies – without a collaborator – and created collages that have been compared to the art of Romare Bearden.
The ranks of his admirers included Johnny Cash, Jackson Pollock and Orson Welles. Offstage he was witty, introspective and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with an explosive temper whose larger-than-life personality was tougher and more sharp-edged than his worshipping fans ever knew.
Wall Street Journal arts columnist Terry Teachout has drawn on a cache of important new sources unavailable to previous Armstrong biographers, including hundreds of private recordings of backstage and after-hours conversations that Armstrong made throughout the second half of his life, to craft a sweeping biography of the towering figure whom Philip Larkin called ‘an artist of Flaubertian purity… more important than Picasso.’
‘This will stand as the ultimate biography of Louis Armstrong. Teachout has evaluated his life and work as noone else before him’ – George Avakian, producer of Louis Armstrong plays W. C. Handy
Terry Teachout writes about literature and the arts for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, the National Review, and the Washington Post. He is the author of The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken and The Terry Teachout Reader. He lives in New York City.