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early anderson
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Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

latest issue of mag has an article in it by some knave or other who spoke of Mr. Armstrong as you see in the subject.
This is not acceptable.
I met him and worked with him and loved him. This is an ugly shallow name for our greatest gift.
What an ugly, reprehensible thing to say.
Shame on you!

smejias
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Mr. Anderson,
With respect, I feel that you have misinterpreted John Marks' intent. John is clearly praising Louis Armstrong.

In a piece where he's listing what he feels are some of the most essential recordings, including Miles Davis' Porgy and Bess, John writes "No Louis Armstrong, no Miles Davis---it's that simple." Thus, he's crediting Louis Armstrong for having huge impact over the musical landscape of the world.

He's asking the reader to not only think of Armstrong as the "amiable clown" of his later television career, but to see him as "the young lion" that he was.

Elk
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Nicely explained, Stephen.

Louis Armstrong was an absolute monster musician. His impact on jazz cannot be overstated.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

I have submitted my list per JMR's request. Every 15 minutes I want to TAKE IT BACK AND START OVER.

Even a list of 50 or 100 may not be enough. I now know I have missed the mark. I may not have even heard many other's 12 most important works.

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

I can't get you to realize that there are no circumstances or instances where Mr. Armstrong could or should be called an "amiable clown"--never was nor could he be such a thing.
It is only sublime musical ignorance with the possiblity of a tinge of crypto-rascism could it of even been thought.
Mr. Armstrong never changed through his entire life--he was always the way you saw him at any time in his life; i.e. full of joy, laughter, love, and even a little devilment.
This is one of the people of whom one can say with out a doubt:
Never before was there anybody like him &
Never again will there be anyone like him.
Unique.

Elk
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Is it your opinion that Mr. Armstrong's television career accurately portrayed who he was?

ohfourohnine
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Good Grief, Stephen, there's no need to try to make polite explanations for John Marks' passing reference to Louis as an "amiable clown". Anyone who's read John's stuff for any length of time knows it wasn't a slur. At worst it was a pointless and stupid phrase. We all get a bit too clever in our writings for our own good sometimes. Most of us are lucky that we have smaller audiences than does John.

Incidentally, Jim is right about the contest. I've not submitted my list as yet but I've already edited it more times than I can count and I'm still not happy with it. Easy to see why John referred to his own sample list as a work in process. The reference to Louis aside, the frustrations involved in winnowing a list may wind up engendering resentment toward John in many of us.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Please relax, Mr. Anderson, and enjoy your good luck at having had personal contact with the great Louis Armstrong. John Marks is not some knave, but instead is a writer whose contributions deserve to be read with enough care to get the point. Yes, Louis was unique in his contribution to the music we all love. Your appreciation of that is not at all unique. Go break out your Decca Years Collection and, as Louis said, "...listen with your heart". That beats picking at John's article to find an excuse for outrage.

Happy listening,

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

What kind of a silly ass question is that? What are you trying to say? Can you be clearer?
The fact and history of the matter is such that Mr. Armstrong had been (in the 60's) accused by certain members of the more militant black liberation community of "Tomming"--which is short speak for acting as an "Uncle Tom".
He was deeply hurt by that as were all of his friends and people who had some idea of just how important he is....
If you want some idea of just how active he was in this area give a listen to him sing "Black & Blue"!!!!!
To refer to him as a clown is very close to the old sad charges of Uncle Tom behavior...do you think there is a crypto-rascist bias here; even subconscious? Could be.
What you saw on tv was Mr. Armstrong performing and loving what he was doing and enjoying the company and situations he was in--all in a totally honest & straight ahead manner.
That was all he knew how to be. There was NO guile in the man and no bitterness. He loved a good joke and would tell them backstage and had many stories to tell.
What you saw on television was Mr. Armstrong.
He was also a person with strong opinions and feelings. Just listen, listen...
I may tell a story about Pops & Richard Nixon here that is a beaut!!! I will consider it.

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Oh no. I got the point. It was a stupid uncalled for remark. Also it may be rascist at bottom. Think about it.
Clowning--cum Uncle Tomming--what.

Now is this also the guy who lists Springsteen and some other rock people as being among the outstanding musical contributors to american culture? That is knavery.
The fact of the matter is that there has been NO rock people that I've yet to hear who are anything more than musical amateurs. They do not know how to tune their instruments and are a product of the P.R. world, little else. Listen to the out of tune clashes in the various pitches if you can hear them. It does take training and care but it can be done.
They may be icons and very important in the entertainment world, but this is not the same as the music world that I inhabit.
They are harmonically very basic and have no ideas about the wonderful harmonic contributions that these great jazz folks have given us. Not to mention the total lack of knowledge of the serial and other amazing break-throughs of the last century. It is a matter of musical de-evolution and not one of progression. Get the money, adulation, girls and drugs and what not...which is wonderful and fine but in no way important to any body's idea of artistic contributions. Let us not kid ourselves--Tiny Tim, Ish Kabibble and Bruce are all cut from the same bolt of cheap cloth. Perfectly serviceable, but not meant to be anything but consumed and bought.

CECE
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

I like Buddy Guy much much better, Better music, better musican. Buddy Guy influneced teh entire genere' of guitar dudes from Led Zeppelin, SRV, Hendrix all of em picked it up from Buddy Guy, who got it from his idols in teh early years while he was about 10 years old, buddy guy would slip into music joints and watch a dude play with some pioneering theatrics with teh guitar....I haven't reazd teh bio of how Louise Armstrong got his influences...besides, it's brass instruments, thats for marching bands and high school games. Music with emotion and SOUL, come from teh STRINGS the frets, the wood. Brass is for plumbing fixtures, not music

bobedaone
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Mr. Anderson, I must agree with you that the majority of rock musicians cannot approach the true musical talent and genius that is jazz. It is one of the only American art forms and Louis was one of the best there ever was. However, I feel compelled to expose the irony in your argument here. You're picking apart a single statement (of no ill intent, I'm sure) directed at one - albeit great - man. Then, you proceed to dismiss an entire GENRE as musical garbage that is unworthy of any consideration whatsoever. If that's not hypocritical, then some dictionaries will have to be amended. Disparaging an entire generation of entertainers is not productive, nor is it welcome. Take a page from the esteemed Mr. Armstrong and smile. Take life in stride. Throw on a record, sit back in your favorite chair, and revel in pure talent and musicality. In failing to accomplish that, please go be angry elsewhere. We like to have fun here.

Editor
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:
He's asking the reader to not only think of Armstrong as the "amiable clown" of his later television career, but to see him as "the young lion" that he was.

Absolutely correct, Stephen. No way was John Marks making a racist remark, instead he was contrasting the depth of his talent with the role that white America forced him (and others) to adopt. Louis was indeed a lion!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:

Quote:
He's asking the reader to not only think of Armstrong as the "amiable clown" of his later television career, but to see him as "the young lion" that he was.

Absolutely correct, Stephen. No way was John Marks making a racist remark, instead he was contrasting the depth of his talent with the role that white America forced him (and others) to adopt. Louis was indeed a lion!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

That is a self-serving statement if ever there was one. I have tried to tell you in clear terms: no one could make Mr. Armstrong do anything that was against his nature & his nature was beautiful and un-soiled...he was one strong dude and had paid all his dues and knew it. He knew full well what he had done. Mr. Armstrong was not able to kow-tow to any of the gods of TV or commercialism. He was not willing to do so, he did not do so.
Why is it so hard to see that calling him an amiable clown is not at all unlike being called an Uncle Tom...or the white man's toy wind up trumpet playing, singing, cute doll.
As far as it being a racist statement or, at least, an ugly un-called for bit of quick think:

RES IPSA LOQUITUR

You cats better stick to electric stuff, for you know little of music or musicians. There are plenty of tough musicians that if you called Mr. Armstrong that term you would certainly end up on your ass. Mr. Mingus, Mr. Davis, Mr. Monk to name but a few. They would have been insulted and would have resented it highly. Some might have cut you,too. Cats have been know to get their fingers and hands cut for playing the wrong changes. Can you imagine how that condescending clap-trap of the article's writer would have struck them.
Listen, maybe I'll give you Mr. Max Roach's telephone number and you can call him and see if he thinks it is cool.

Elk
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

My question was open and without guile. You state you knew him. I did not, but I did see him on TV. Thus the simple question: "Is it your opinion that Mr. Armstrong's television career accurately portrayed who he was?"

After your insults, elementary school level lecturing and accusing me of racism you finally answered the question with "What you saw on television was Mr. Armstrong."

This is all I wanted to know. Thank you.

I am sorry that you are filled with such anger.

I think I'll go and dig out some of Mr. Armstrong

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


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Mr. Anderson, I must agree with you that the majority of rock musicians cannot approach the true musical talent and genius that is jazz. It is one of the only American art forms and Louis was one of the best there ever was. However, I feel compelled to expose the irony in your argument here. You're picking apart a single statement (of no ill intent, I'm sure) directed at one - albeit great - man. Then, you proceed to dismiss an entire GENRE as musical garbage that is unworthy of any consideration whatsoever. If that's not hypocritical, then some dictionaries will have to be amended. Disparaging an entire generation of entertainers is not productive, nor is it welcome. Take a page from the esteemed Mr. Armstrong and smile. Take life in stride. Throw on a record, sit back in your favorite chair, and revel in pure talent and musicality. In failing to accomplish that, please go be angry elsewhere. We like to have fun here.


Sorry man, If if stepped on your toes.
I am also sorry if you have NO ears, either.
What I am doing is fun!
If you don't like it you can take a hike.
Develope some ears and we can discuss the "entire genre" of rock. Just who would you point to as an outstanding instrumentalist?
I am sorry, if you wish to get technical I assure you I will defend my postions beyond imagination.
I have studied music every day of my life for well over 50 years. I have perfect pitch. I promise you my statements are not a matter of only uniformed opinion but the result of decades of dedicated study.
Read my posts with more care, & take care about calling anybody a hypcrite--you are on very thin ice here and I fear you have little chance of survival in any intellectual contest. You use of the word "irony" would indicate that.
I condemn the whole
"genre" as you call it because, so far, I have heard nothing that is of any particular interest or quality from a musical point of view. If I am wrong I would be happy to admit it--I would like some idea of just who would be able to provide the quality of music in the rock genre that would compare with Ellington, Berg, Stravinsky, Monk, Strays, or many of the past giants. Either in composing or playing--I would like to hear some one truly impressive.

Monty
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

I can remember seeing Armstrong on the Dean Martin Show. He looked like he was having a lot of fun playing the amiable clown. I suppose the same could be said for Sammy Davis Jr. The guy had enormous talent and clowned around all the time.

But, hey, thanks for taking the opportunity to let us all know that you have "connections" in the bidness. Do you still have pay for your own coffee?

bobedaone
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:

Sorry man, If if stepped on your toes.
I am also sorry if you have NO ears, either.
What I am doing is fun!
If you don't like it you can take a hike.
Develope some ears and we can discuss the "entire genre" of rock. Just who would you point to as an outstanding instrumentalist?
I am sorry, if you wish to get technical I assure you I will defend my postions beyond imagination.
I have studied music every day of my life for well over 50 years. I have perfect pitch. I promise you my statements are not a matter of only uniformed opinion but the result of decades of dedicated study.
Read my posts with more care, & take care about calling anybody a hypcrite--you are on very thin ice here and I fear you have little chance of survival in any intellectual contest. You use of the word "irony" would indicate that.
I condemn the whole
"genre" as you call it because, so far, I have heard nothing that is of any particular interest or quality from a musical point of view. If I am wrong I would be happy to admit it--I would like some idea of just who would be able to provide the quality of music in the rock genre that would compare with Ellington, Berg, Stravinsky, Monk, Strays, or many of the past giants. Either in composing or playing--I would like to hear some one truly impressive.

I never claimed that rock was musically superior to jazz. In fact, if you read my post, you'll notice that I consider it an art form and those who play it well musical geniuses. This is not an intellectual battle. I was merely making the point that I was amused that you would defend a man while attacking countless others. I admire your perfect pitch, truly. My ears work just fine, but I listen to many types of music. I can appreciate musical styles for what they are and feel no need to hold them all to an unrealistic ideal. If you don't enjoy rock music, I don't fault you for that. It's your opinion, and one undoubtedly shared by many others. Just understand that sweeping generalizations can be off-putting. I don't need to defend rock by presenting you with a list of talent, but I will say that James Pankow's early work with Chicago is worth hearing, if not perhaps up to your standards. Pankow is a talented composer and a fine musician. I've heard few others who can make a trombone sound like his. Again, that's just an opinion, and you're welcome to disagree. I was raised on jazz and fully understand the contempt felt for the less talented by jazz musicians who can't find work. It's unfortunate and it's backwards. Jazz's improvisational style did not maintain the widespread popularity that it deserved and still does deserve. Good jazz requires a great deal of study as well as tremendous natural musical ability. That being said, rock music did indeed have a great deal of cultural impact, even if most of those who play it don't have the chops of Coltrane, Armstrong, etc. I take nothing away from the jazz greats, but I must also recognize that rock is music and is a phenomenon, if not necessarily a musical phenomenon.
I didn't realize you were having fun. It must have been your anger and contempt that threw me off. My mistake.
Maybe we'll all get lucky and Stephen will kill this post before it descends further into the depths of absurdity.

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:

Quote:

Sorry man, If if stepped on your toes.
I am also sorry if you have NO ears, either.
What I am doing is fun!
If you don't like it you can take a hike.
Develope some ears and we can discuss the "entire genre" of rock. Just who would you point to as an outstanding instrumentalist?
I am sorry, if you wish to get technical I assure you I will defend my postions beyond imagination.
I have studied music every day of my life for well over 50 years. I have perfect pitch. I promise you my statements are not a matter of only uniformed opinion but the result of decades of dedicated study.
Read my posts with more care, & take care about calling anybody a hypcrite--you are on very thin ice here and I fear you have little chance of survival in any intellectual contest. You use of the word "irony" would indicate that.
I condemn the whole
"genre" as you call it because, so far, I have heard nothing that is of any particular interest or quality from a musical point of view. If I am wrong I would be happy to admit it--I would like some idea of just who would be able to provide the quality of music in the rock genre that would compare with Ellington, Berg, Stravinsky, Monk, Strays, or many of the past giants. Either in composing or playing--I would like to hear some one truly impressive.

I never claimed that rock was musically superior to jazz. In fact, if you read my post, you'll notice that I consider it an art form and those who play it well musical geniuses. This is not an intellectual battle. I was merely making the point that I was amused that you would defend a man while attacking countless others. I admire your perfect pitch, truly. My ears work just fine, but I listen to many types of music. I can appreciate musical styles for what they are and feel no need to hold them all to an unrealistic ideal. If you don't enjoy rock music, I don't fault you for that. It's your opinion, and one undoubtedly shared by many others. Just understand that sweeping generalizations can be off-putting. I don't need to defend rock by presenting you with a list of talent, but I will say that James Pankow's early work with Chicago is worth hearing, if not perhaps up to your standards. Pankow is a talented composer and a fine musician. I've heard few others who can make a trombone sound like his. Again, that's just an opinion, and you're welcome to disagree. I was raised on jazz and fully understand the contempt felt for the less talented by jazz musicians who can't find work. It's unfortunate and it's backwards. Jazz's improvisational style did not maintain the widespread popularity that it deserved and still does deserve. Good jazz requires a great deal of study as well as tremendous natural musical ability. That being said, rock music did indeed have a great deal of cultural impact, even if most of those who play it don't have the chops of Coltrane, Armstrong, etc. I take nothing away from the jazz greats, but I must also recognize that rock is music and is a phenomenon, if not necessarily a musical phenomenon.
I didn't realize you were having fun. It must have been your anger and contempt that threw me off. My mistake.
Maybe we'll all get lucky and Stephen will kill this post before it descends further into the depths of absurdity. [/quote

I have nothing but admiration for J. Pankow and the group Chicago--at least some of the things I've heard. They are very superior as was some of the old Blood Sweat and Tears group.
There is no argument there. I almost hesitate to put either into the rock genre...
The only reason I harp on some of these things is that deserves to be treated better than to be called that condescending name for whatever reason it was done. He also deserves to better treated than to be put on a par with bruce springsteen.
If I have been too aggressive in either stating my case or stating my bona fides and personal history, it is only to establish that this abusive treatment of this truly important person is not acceptable. All the musicians I know would agree whole heartedly. This is not absurdity. this is an affront, whether intended or not.
One simply does not refer to a well loved black man as he was. It is just bad taste, at best. It harkens back to the old Jim Crow days.
I've mentioned it to many of my collegues who are all professional musicians and they all thought it smacked of ol'timey racism. That is what it sounded like to them! Their reactions were, for the most part, much stronger than mine.
It is a stupid hurtful thing to say--don't do it...how hard is that to understand.
An apology is indicated! An expression of regret is expected.
I had really wanted to cancel my subscription, express my deep hurt, and not to hear the defense of the indefensible.

Res ipsa loquitur

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Once, in 1988, I was walking about in a small town on the Red Sea, in the Sahara Desert, there was an open air gathering of people in a sort of arena and loudly playing was Mr. Armstrong's recording of Hello Dolly. It did actually bring a tear to my eyes, not because I missed the u.s.a. (which has never happened to me no matter where I went), but because I missed Pops so much and loved him and his music. It was such a startling experience.
I never did find out what was going on. But there he was in the Sahara sounding wonderful and not at all like a clown. This is an example of his power and towering talents.
I never heard of him wearing a big red nose or those floppy huge shoes. Clown indeed. Vaffanculo...cancel my subscription.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

It appears, Mr. Anderson, that you aren't at all interested in civil dialog. Your notion that "rascism" (sic.) should also be layed at John Marks' door is shameful. Your open rage closes the door to exploring areas where you might find agreement among those who frequent this forum. I, for one, idolize Louis Armstrong and I think for good reason. It immaterial to me that John didn't include him in his list. He's in mine. Beyond that, I agree with you that Springsteen contributes nothing but crap. That too is immaterial because offerings of crap masquerading as music are - more's the pity- part of the American music culture. They're the worst of it, certainly, but they are there in great abundance. Too bad you're incapable of rational discourse. It might have been fun.

early anderson
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:
It appears, Mr. Anderson, that you aren't at all interested in civil dialog. Your notion that "rascism" (sic.) should also be layed at John Marks' door is shameful. Your open rage closes the door to exploring areas where you might find agreement among those who frequent this forum. I, for one, idolize Louis Armstrong and I think for good reason. It immaterial to me that John didn't include him in his list. He's in mine. Beyond that, I agree with you that Springsteen contributes nothing but crap. That too is immaterial because offerings of crap masquerading as music are - more's the pity- part of the American music culture. They're the worst of it, certainly, but they are there in great abundance. Too bad you're incapable of rational discourse. It might have been fun.

What rage are you talking about? How do you know? You assume far too much based on evidence that you can not have.
I have little rage, I do have many strong opinions. Your post is just silly.
Your concept of rational discourse is not the same as mine, apparently. But I do thank you for pointing out my bad spelling of the taboo word. Even if it was obvious and childish.
You have simply not addressed the idea by dismissing it. To me, the statement does, indeed, speak for itself.
Among musicians, Mr. Armstrong is spoken about in reverent, respectful terms--always.
Shameful? My position is shameful? So you say. I submit that calling Mr. Armstrong an un-becoming and backward looking name is the shameful one, not my "rage"--
Everybody here is bending over backwards trying to put words and intents in the author's mouth by way of feckless defenses.
What was written is a faux pas--at the very least. It was ugly, caused pain, very inaccurate, and stupid--don't do it--don't support it.
I am sorry if these old (66) fingers don't type as well as they may have at one time. I am sorry if I have offended anyone by speaking truth as I see it. Well, maybe not all that sorry.
I am sorry if I am or appear to be self taught and don't have a whole lot of meaningful college time.
That person has besmirched Mr. Armstrong's name and legacy with one witless, off hand statement.
Mr. Armstrong was as perfect a human being as is to be found in history. Let us cease criticizing him, let us cease supporting those who do.
He NEVER played or sang an un-swinging or wrong note. No other musician can claim that.
I am a musician. I know.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:
I may tell a story about Pops & Richard Nixon here that is a beaut!!! I will consider it.

If you're who I think you may be, that's a fun anecdote.

jazzfan
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Spinach and such

Coming from a long line of simple farming people I am deeply hurt and very disappointed that Mr. Marks chose to use the phase "Eat your spinach, it's good for you!" within his article.

If people only remember spinach as that limp, over cooked tasteless mass of green glop that was tossed on their plates during primary school lunch or, worse yet, as the cause of those recent outbreaks of illness due to poor farming practices than I do believe that they're sorrily mistaken about this lovely green substance. Spinach is not nor as it ever been any of those things and I know since I have grown plenty of spinach and besides, I have perfect taste.

Using such a hurtful and hateful statement can only mean that Mr. Marks, and by association Stereophile, lack the taste and knowledge of what a well rounded and wholesome food spinach has always been. Rather than take the usual tack of demanding an immediate apology or canceling my subscription I will just make the simple suggestion that Mr. Marks head down to his local green grocers and pick up some nice fresh baby spinach and enjoy a fine salad made from this wonderful edible green leaf.

CECE
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon,Albert King, Albert Collins,Hubert Sumlin',Muddy Waters,Etta James are far more impotent musicans than Louise Armstrong will ever be. Hello Dolly!!!! you got's to be kiddin'. Nichols Brothers too, pioneers in teh mans controlled world. Nichols Bros did amazing stuff copied by the white man. Fred Astaire gots the fame, off of Nichols Bros pioneering routines...it ain't right, nutin' changed in 100 years did it? too bad Michael Jackson set back the black musican 200 years!!!! Can't we all just get along? Another prophet!!! No just a bad driver!

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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

ohhhh, my head. I knew I shouldn't have looked.

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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

If all one knew of Mr. Armstrong as based on how he was portrayed in the media, then, sadly, he would indeed be easily confused for a Disney character.

Mr. Armstrong was portrayed in this horribly oversimple manner. One trip through his television appearances of the day would illustrate that.

I can see why Mr. Anderson would react to Mr. Marks' comments, because the inventor of jazz was reduced to being presented as someone who sang Disney songs.

It's telling in the same way that when Mr. Anderson walked into that town in the Sahara that what he heard was "Hello, Dolly" and not the "Saint Louis Blues."

The mainstream media thrives on simple caricature.

So, I can see someone being upset by the "amiable clown" refrence. It, like the media of the time did, reduces Mr. Armstrong to caricature. It kind of implies that the author only knows Mr. Armstrong via this oversimplification.

However, Mr. Anderson, if you are a reader of Mr. Marks' articles, you should give him more credit than you have. I think he was making a mass media comment, not saying that the man himself was in any way simple.

Mr. Armstrong was a sharp guy, he knew what was going on. As Billie Holiday said, "Of course Pops toms, but he toms from the heart."

What you saw on TV may have been the "real" Mr. Armstrong, but it wasn't the "total" Mr. Armstrong, for sure. I hope that seems reasonable. Sadly, most Americans only know him in that Disney way, which sets the framework of Mr. Marks' comment.

I can see where calling Mr. Armstrong an "amiable clown" does sound a little bit Stepin Fetchit. But all of us, including Mr. Marks, know just how epic Mr. Armstrong was.

I don't mean to be an apologist for Mr. marks, I just don't think he meant it the way you took it.

As for the posts by DUP, I just had to look, and I am embarrassed. I hope you don't associate anyone else's thoughts here with his sub-tripe.

RGibran
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Re: Spinach and such

LMAO!!!

RG

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Re: Spinach and such

RG,

Thanks for the comment. One other thing that got under my skin about Early's posts but didn't fit into my spinach metaphor is his constantly reminding us of how he's a musician and therefore his musical tastes are beyond reproach. Yeah, right. Guess what, Kenny G. is also a musician, and a rather successful one to boot, but that does mean he has any musical taste whatsoever. Besides most, if not all, of the people who play rock music professionally consider themselves to be musicians, albeit without the stick up their butt.

It kind of reminds me of those people who are always telling us how they are electrical engineers and as an engineer the only way to evaluate audio equipment is by double blind testing. What they always fail to mention is that what does being an electrical engineer have to do with one's ability to hear differences in audio equipment.

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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:
If all one knew of Mr. Armstrong as based on how he was portrayed in the media, then, sadly, he would indeed be easily confused for a Disney character.

Mr. Armstrong was portrayed in this horribly oversimple manner. One trip through his television appearances of the day would illustrate that.

I can see why Mr. Anderson would react to Mr. Marks' comments, because the inventor of jazz was reduced to being presented as someone who sang Disney songs.

It's telling in the same way that when Mr. Anderson walked into that town in the Sahara that what he heard was "Hello, Dolly" and not the "Saint Louis Blues."

The mainstream media thrives on simple caricature.

So, I can see someone being upset by the "amiable clown" refrence. It, like the media of the time did, reduces Mr. Armstrong to caricature. It kind of implies that the author only knows Mr. Armstrong via this oversimplification.

However, Mr. Anderson, if you are a reader of Mr. Marks' articles, you should give him more credit than you have. I think he was making a mass media comment, not saying that the man himself was in any way simple.

Mr. Armstrong was a sharp guy, he knew what was going on. As Billie Holiday said, "Of course Pops toms, but he toms from the heart."

What you saw on TV may have been the "real" Mr. Armstrong, but it wasn't the "total" Mr. Armstrong, for sure. I hope that seems reasonable. Sadly, most Americans only know him in that Disney way, which sets the framework of Mr. Marks' comment.

I can see where calling Mr. Armstrong an "amiable clown" does sound a little bit Stepin Fetchit. But all of us, including Mr. Marks, know just how epic Mr. Armstrong was.

I don't mean to be an apologist for Mr. marks, I just don't think he meant it the way you took it.

As for the posts by DUP, I just had to look, and I am embarrassed. I hope you don't associate anyone else's thoughts here with his sub-tripe.

Yes, Thank you. In an imperfect world, "Dolly" is fine and was one of Mr. Armstrongs hits; it shows his acceptance all over the world, I suppose. Imagine--the Sahara desert.
DUP has, actually, some very good points. His choice of musicians is very good too, mostly. He does not realize that without Mr. Armstrong many of his favorites would/could not have existed.
I have no doubt that the intent of the article was not one of any rascist ideals. However, the appellation did creep in, did it not. Was it an accident or from some deeply buried thing? Who knows? Who Cares, too?
The fact is is that it was printed. It is there and it is insulting.
The total man could not be portrayed on TV anyway--certainly not on some variety show spot of only a few seconds.
DUP in his reference to Mr. King is on the money, too. I do like "Not just a bad driver"--that does smack of brilliance, to me, anyway.
"Dolly" was always a real dumb ass song anyway until Mr. Armstrong elevated it to high art with another of one of his wonderful interpretations. Mr. Armstrong (& all the great musicians) could make the trite profound--check out Mr. Coltrane's "Chim,Chim,Cheree" or however you spell that stupid title.

Mr. Armstrong always, as far as I know, joked and played with his audiences--clowned if you will--that does not in any way mean he was a clown or dishonest or toming. That was Mr. Armstrong! His very nature. A cheerful, positive soul...

Elk
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

Well said, Buddha

early anderson
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Re: Spinach and such

What are you talking about. Have you one thought connected with another that makes sense?
You must be one of those player haters we face all the time.
Usually it is based on envy.
Put that stick up your butt.
Ornette Coleman never said I had a stick up my butt. But you are expert on farming and music can figure it all out.
Your repulsive envy is showing--why don't you just go and practice?
I guess you are an expert on free jazz and rock too. Well I guess you sure got my number.
If you think you are so good with music or improv--let us have an old time cutting contest,...how about that?
Let us start with up-tempo Cherokee in all 12 keys! Can you do that? I can.
don't bother me or anybody until you can...if you haven't paid your dues as we all have, don't expect to understand what it is about.
That kenny g. was the knavish musical cretin who saw nothing wrong with over-dubbing himself with Mr. Armstrong. Man, your choices are perfect.
your drivel is very familiar--nothing new, nothing good just somebody who comes and pukes on my shoes...

ohfourohnine
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Re: Spinach and such

Early on in this thread you suggested I was wrong to attribute rage to you. With all due respect, Mr. Anderson, (and that's not much) if your post of 3/19 doesn't reflect rage it sure fooled me. Be careful not to fall off that high horse.

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Portrait of a man with rage?

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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

It seems we're just hitting our heads against the proverbial wall here. I think we're focusing too much on this divisive argument and not enough on what unites us.

Point one: Louis Armstrong is one of the finest musicians who has ever lived and, although I'm not as fortunate as Mr. Anderson to have met the legend himself, was most likely also one of the finest human beings.

Point two: We all love music here. Without good music, there is no reason for good playback gear and no purpose for a magazine or forum such as this. Whatever we listen to, every person here is passionate.

Point three: Although many of us do not personally agree with Mr. Anderson's position that the comment was distasteful, it could certainly be interpreted as such. We all agree that Mr. Armstrong is a man more than worthy of the utmost respect. The fundamental difference between Mr. Anderson and the rest of us is that he believes that respect was not shown.

I'll now share openly and respectfully a few opinions. Mr. Anderson, I admire that you are a musician of talent. Although I do not doubt your claim to this ability, I feel that your pointing that out at times when it isn't particularly relevant seems boastful. You have every right to be proud of your life and accomplishments, but payment of dues carries with it no guarantees. Respect here must still be earned.

I'll address the other forum members now. Gentlemen, though it may seem like Mr. Anderson is not always behaving rationally, we must bear in mind that he perceives wrongdoing against a great man whom he knew personally and, by extension, feels wronged and hurt himself. If you read one of his posts and it doesn't sit well with you, please don't reply unless the commentary is constructive. I think we have an opportunity for healthy, open dialog here, providing we tread lightly and the word "racism" is not thrown about.

Mr. Anderson, I must stress that although we do not all have the industry experience you have, we are not speaking from positions of no experience at all. I can't speak for the others, but I will say that I'm not as green as my age might suggest. I'm the son of two jazz musicians. My father studied jazz trombone at the Eastman School of Music and toured with the late, great Woody Herman. He has also met and played with many big names, including Rosemary Clooney. My mother studied bass trombone and was no slouch, herself. When she and my father lived in New York City (before I was born), she also was in very high demand as a music copyist. Okay, so what do my parents have to do with me? Fair enough. I am not a musician myself. But my upbringing instilled me with a certain understanding of music and those who play professionally. I'm not unfamiliar with the phrase or sentiment "I've paid my dues." I also know what it means to be a jazz musician. It's rewarding, but the life isn't easy.

I have a great deal of respect for what my father has accomplished. Unfortunately, he cared more about music than his marriage or his son. Consequently, I've not seen him for several years, by my own will.

My point here is that music should be about joy. As soon as it isn't, we need to take stock of the situation. When music drives a wedge, the spirit is lost.

Mr. Anderson, I'm very sorry that you feel the way you do. This has also become an animal far larger than you intended it to be. I hope you achieve some form of personal resolution and I wish you well. Always remember that music isn't everything.

To Mr. Armstrong! *raises glass*

Cheers,

Erik

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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"

I think that was an excellent post, Erik. Thank you.

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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:

I can't get you to realize that there are no circumstances or instances where Mr. Armstrong could or should be called an "amiable clown"--never was nor could he be such a thing.

I think I understand how you feel, Mr. Anderson. You feel that Mr. Louis Armstrong could and should only ever be seen as the great and wonderful person that you and many others know he truly was. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of him with us. I wish that I'd had the chance to spend time with him myself, or, at least, to have seen him perform. Fortunately, I am able to listen to his music, which I also love.

I'm sorry that we offended you.

If you choose to continue spending time with us here in the forum, I ask that you simply treat this space and its participants with respect, with the same respect that you expect for your own values and beliefs.

Thanks very much.

Editor
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Re: Mr. Armstrong as an "amiable clown"


Quote:
I never heard of him wearing a big red nose or those floppy huge shoes. Clown indeed.

I think you are taking the word too literally, Mr. Anderson. For a long while (perhaps until the launch of bebop in the early 1950s with Davis, Roach, Coltrane, Parker, Gillespie, etc) it appeared that White America required talented black performers to conform to a certain stereotype. Look at Louis's performance in the movie "High Society": when he isn't playing, he certainly plays up that role, and when he _is_ playing, it was apparent even to me as a white Engish child when I first saw this movie that he was, as I said, a musical "lion."

So yes, a complex man, who loved his "vipers," and with all the various obsessions that he had toward the end of his life, as documented in Orrin Keepnews' 1960s "Encyclopedia of Jazz." But none of that means Louis wasn't instrumental in transforming American music and wasn't the key figure who prepared the way for the great flowering of jazz post-1948.


Quote:
Vaffanculo...cancel my subscription.

Sorry, I can't do that. There are some things a man needs to do for himself. Call (800) 666-3746.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Spinach and such


Quote:
What are you talking about. Have you one thought connected with another that makes sense?
You must be one of those player haters we face all the time.
Usually it is based on envy.
Put that stick up your butt.
Ornette Coleman never said I had a stick up my butt. But you are expert on farming and music can figure it all out.
Your repulsive envy is showing--why don't you just go and practice?
I guess you are an expert on free jazz and rock too. Well I guess you sure got my number.
If you think you are so good with music or improv--let us have an old time cutting contest,...how about that?
Let us start with up-tempo Cherokee in all 12 keys! Can you do that? I can.
don't bother me or anybody until you can...if you haven't paid your dues as we all have, don't expect to understand what it is about.
That kenny g. was the knavish musical cretin who saw nothing wrong with over-dubbing himself with Mr. Armstrong. Man, your choices are perfect.
your drivel is very familiar--nothing new, nothing good just somebody who comes and pukes on my shoes...

Mr. Anderson,

Since you are a musician and not a writer please let me clarify what my "Spinach and such" post was about. It was written has a satire with a bit of reductio ad absurdum thrown in for good measure. Sorry if it went over your head.

As for assertions concerning my musical aspirations are also way off the mark. I am a mechanical engineer whose only encounter with playing music ended when I entered high school and no longer had the opportunity to learn to play the trumpet via school supported music program. Since that time I have been an avid listener who has occasionally done some professional music review work.

However, back to the issue at hand, throughout this entire thread no one has mentioned that playing the "amiable clown" was only one part of Louis Armstrong's public performance persona. From what I've read about Louis Armstrong it appears to me that Armstrong considered himself to be an entertainer as well as a musician. And playing the clown or clowning around was just another part of his on stage act, similar to his singing or trumpet playing.

In addition, again only from what I've read since I'm too young to have experienced it first hand, Mr. Armstrong's insistence on being a complete performer did not always sit well with many "serious" jazz musicians. To that I say "Too Bad" because if playing the clown (and regardless of your many protests, Louie Armstrong did, very knowingly, play the clown) suited the great Louie Armstrong than far be it from me to knock him for it.

Had you delved into a more formal critique of Mr. Marks' article and made some less biased statements then you would have seen that the members of this forum are quite capable of having an intelligent discourse. For example, Mr. Marks makes the same mistake with his choices for his list that just about every other "survey" type list makes, i.e. there is an over abundance of choices from the present time within his list. What about vaudeville, Civil War era music or marching band music? They are all valid choices that once occupied much more prominent positions within the American musical landscape.

A wonderful example of what I'm referring to is Richard Thompson's recording "1000 Years of Popular Music" which contains the these liner notes:


Quote:
The idea for this project came from Playboy Magazine - I was asked by submit a list, in late 1999, of the ten greatest songs of the Millenium. Hah! I thought, hypocrites - they don't mean millennium, they mean twenty years - I'll call their bluff and do a real thousand-year selection. My list was similar to the choices here on this CD, starting in about 1068, and winding slowly up to 2001. That they failed to print my list among others submitted by rock's luminaries, is but a slight wound - it gave me the idea for this show, which has been performed occasionally, and will hopefully receive a few more airings. The idea is that Popular Music comes in many forms, through many ages, and as older forms get superceded, sometimes the baby is thrown out with the bathwater - great ideas, tunes, rhythms, styles, get left in the dust of history, so let's have a look at what's back there, and see if still does the trick. I am unqualified to sing 98% of the material here, but me having a go could be considered part of the fun. Also, trying to render an Arthur Sullivan orchestration with acoustic guitar and snare drum is pretty desperate stuff, but may, at a stretch, be thought "charming." What appears on this CD is a performance, rather than a chronological, distillation of several different shows - hence some gaps in the 17th and 18th centuries, and too much weight on Music Hall and Rock & Roll - we just felt that some performances weren't quite captured - perhaps on Part Two? - Richard Thompson

Edit: I forgot to the song list from Mr. Thompson's excellent CD.

Richard Thompson's "1000 Years of Popular Music" track list:

1. Sumer is Icumen In
2. King Henry V's Conquest Of France
3. When I Am Laid In Earth
4. So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo
5. Shenandoah
6. Blackleg Miner
7. Waiting at the Church
8. Trafalgar Square
9. There Is Beauty?
10. Why Have My Loved Ones Gone?
11. Old Rocking Chair's Got Me
12. Orange-Coloured Sky
13. Cry Me A River
14. Drinking Wine Spo-dee-o-dee
15. The Fool
16. Legal Matter
17. Tempted
18. Kiss
19. Oops! I Did It Again
20. Sam Hall
21. Money
22. It Won't Be Long
23. Marry, Ageyn Hic Hev Donne Yt

Elk
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Re: Spinach and such

Jazzfan,

Richard Thompson's album is a great example. I seriously enjoy this work.

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Re: Spinach and such

Not to mention, Ralph, that some of the really early stuff is great fun to listen to. Talk about kinder and gentler times. Here are a couple, which if you don't already have them are worth looking for:

"Pleasures of the Court" Festive dance music by Susato and Morley from the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The Early Music Consort of London and the Morley Consort directed by David Munroe Angel Recording

"Greatest Dance Hits of the 1500's (and 1600's)" Renaissance Dances for Recorder, Dulcian, Crumhorn, and Lute performed on period instruments and authentic copies of 16th century instruments Critics Choice Recording

And don't even get me started on madrigals.

What do you know, we seem to be talking about music again. Here's one you're more likely to have - a great favorite of mine from Concord about 1986: "Don't Forget the Blues" Ray Brown, Gene Harris, Al Grey, and Ron Eschete. Harris plays the Fender Rhodes as well as piano, and Al Grey makes you wonder why trombone wasn't featured in more small blues groups during that period. Perhaps Mr. Anderson could shed some light on that.

To that end I hasten to offer my unqualified respect for the talents of Trummy Young, Vic Dickenson, Lou McGarrity, and Jack Teagarten among other great players.

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