Louis Armstrong's Mix-Tape Art

When I visited The Louis Armstrong Archives a few years ago to visit archivist Michael Cogswell, Cogswell escorted me back into the stacks to show me Armstrong's collection of 650 open-reel tapes, almost all of which sported collages assembled by the great trumpeter. More than touching his trumpet, I felt a direct connection to Armstrong viewing (and hearing) his mix tapes—Satchmo was one of us!

The Louis Armstrong House has been extensively renovated and enlarged, so those tapes are now on display. If you want to hear excerpts from them, go to Satchmo.net. To get a preview of Armstrong's collage art, go to The Paris Review.