By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Will Friedwald, Eugene Holley Jr., and David Yaffe, all familiar contributors, focus, respectively, on Armstrong's later vocal records, his triumphant African tours, and his development from the 1920s to the 1950s. Matt Glaser, violinist and chairman of the string department at the Berklee School of Music, whose deconstruction of "Lazy River" was a highlight of Ken Burns's Jazz, compares two early masterpieces, which he also transcribed.
I am especially pleased to have Morgensternwhose previous contributions include a major Armstrong essay in our 1985 homageback in these pages. This time, taking on a personal issue, he shows how the Armstrong press attacks and distortions of the 1950s helped goad him into becoming a jazz writer. As an editor of music magazines in the '60s and early '70s (notably Down Beat in its peak years) and as a historian, critic, and, since 1976, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, Dan has shaped a generation of journalists, especially in the area of Armstrong criticism. Many of the arguments he put forth that were once dismissed as fan worship are now practically standard-issue: They inform every essay in this section, whether the ideas came directly from him or from other writers he influenced. The prewar Deccas alluded to in my essay, for example, were so little-known as recently as 1967, when he helped to spur a reevaluation of them, that they were reissued as Rare Items. A long-awaited anthology of Dan's greatest hits is now in the works.
The street on which Armstrong was born, Jane Alley, with its adjoining field of outhouses, no longer exists. When it was paved over in the 1970s, the city was petitioned by music lovers around the world to salvage a cornerstone of the Armstrong birthplace. New Orleans's municipal hacks refused to do so and all that remains of the old area is one defiant tree, ringed by protective bricks. Does it matter? "If you would see the man's monument, look around." -G.G.
More articles in this week's Voice Jazz Supplement.