Among the most recent biographies gracing my over-crowded nightstand is Pops; The wonderful world of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout. From the dust jacket; In POPS Terry Teachout has drawn on a cache of rich new sources unavailable to previous biographers. Offstage Armstrong was witty, introspective and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague, whose larger-than-life personality was tougher and sharper edged than his ardent fans ever realized.
Not being Jewish and knowing very little about that culture, I found if intriguing to learn that Armstrong used to wear the Star of David around his neck. He never 'got' people hating the Jews, who were White! A Jewish family took him under their wing when he was a boy and helped buy his first cornet. HE gave "the Jewish people" credit for having taught him "how to live-real life and determination."
This book is fascinating on so many different levels. Worthwhile even if the history of Jazz or the life of a truly inimitable musician and human being has no 'grip' on you.
Refreshingly honest opinions about life and getting along with others by demonstrating a genuine love for humanity and simply being alive.
Duke Ellington said at Satchmo's death; 'He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone on the way'.
With his ability to make heart connections around his love of music, and on being labeled a 'White folks nigger' Satchmo's retort was, "Believe it the White Folks did everything that's decent for me, I wish I could boast the same words for, (racial reference)". "They hold too much Malice-Jealousy deep down in their hearts for the few Negroes who tries".
When I purchased this thick as a brick memoir I never thought this book would hold my interest, but night after night with it's references to the time period, uplifting raw perspectives, and delightful insights, it did!