Louis Armstrong's Collages
October 28, 2009 8:28 PM   Subscribe

When not pressing the valves on his trumpet or the record button on his tape recorder, Armstrong’s fingers found other arts with which to occupy themselves. One of them was collage, which became a visual outlet for his improvisational genius. ... These little stories, illuminating and entertaining syntheses of Armstrong’s passions, now reside in the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College in Flushing, New York.

The collages are collected in Satchmo: The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong.

You could look at them while listening to Armstrong's cover version of Pharaoh Sanders and eating his recipe for red beans and rice.
posted by Joe Beese (11 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I had no idea! Thank you!
posted by interrobang at 8:54 PM on October 28, 2009

"and he made copies of his own recordings, to which (unlike many musicians) he enjoyed listening."

A Godfather of Mix-tapes, Jazz, and Beatniks.
posted by ovvl at 9:17 PM on October 28, 2009

Various music teachers held him up as an example of someone who would play a simple melody in a way that's impossible to imitate. The collages express that in another dimension. What a delightful post.
posted by jet_silver at 9:28 PM on October 28, 2009

See what happens when person smokes marijuana every day of their professional career.
posted by hortense at 9:57 PM on October 28, 2009

Armstrong's cover version of Pharaoh Sanders

This pretty much made my day.
posted by Wolof at 10:39 PM on October 28, 2009

He also loved his laxatives. (Not that that's as important as marijuana, of course.)
posted by phliar at 10:40 PM on October 28, 2009

Somebody please go put Satchmo in Wikipedia's list of collage artists.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:25 PM on October 28, 2009

Louis Armstrong's bathroom was named one of "America's Best". The floor to ceiling mirrored walls must have produced something of a collage effect of the naked Satchmo projected into countless reflexive infinities. (Louis apparently wasn't the only creative person with a pastepot in that household. The linked blog post includes a comment to the effect that Armstong's wife "went crazy wallpapering all the closets" in their house.)
posted by Faze at 4:35 AM on October 29, 2009

We've got that book at the library. It's beautiful, and awesome, and highly recommended. Also, what hortense said.
posted by box at 6:08 AM on October 29, 2009

... I am suddenly confronted by three young boys... junior-high types, and one of them asks me: "Are you Jean-Claude Killy?"

"That's right," I said.

"What are you doing?" they asked.

Well, you goddamn silly little waterhead, what the hell does it look like I'm doing? But I didn't say that. I gave the question some thought. "Well," I said finally, "I'm just sitting here smoking marijuana." I held up my pipe. "This is what makes me ski so fast." Their eyes swelled up like young grapefruits. They stared at me - waiting for a laugh, I think - then backed away. Five minutes later I looked up and found them still watching me, huddled about 20 feet away... I waved my pipe at them and smiled like Hubert Humphrey . . . but they didn't wave back.

- Hunter S. Thompson, "The Temptations of Jean-Claude Killy"
posted by Joe Beese at 7:17 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

When not pressing the valves on his trumpet or the record button on his tape recorder, or twisting up a reefer...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:51 AM on October 30, 2009

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