ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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I'm Doin' the Georgia Grind with Sweet Savannah Sue

Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea on the

Sunny Side of the Banket When the Saints Go Marchin' In...




Native Son

                     (for Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong)

                                         By Professor ARTURO

                              “I remember when he was King Zulu

                                when he got off the float and was walkin'

                                down Orleans Street....I looked up and

                                who I saw was him....I was a young girl then...."

                                                                -Mrs. Emelda P. Thomas




Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong

Lil' Louie...

From impoverished childhood to musical Sainthood

His light and life and legacy shine

                                   forever shine...

From us,                    We, the living

From the dead, rotten, and forgotten

From humble 20th century beginnings

From the passion, prejudice, and pain of his youth

       to the veneration of generations...

From his freedom and fantasy

          his fruition in the tradition

          his mastery and mission

          his jazziness and genius

From the Private Tears and trumpetiers

               Mouseketeers and racketeers

From the power of his playing

From Old Crowe and Jim Crow

From Negroes clapping and white folks paying

(a curious institution)

From the swords and the sickles and the sausage and the pickles

From the trumpets and the strumpets

  hotty-tot tarts and vejitibble carts

From Liberty and Perdido

Mayann and Willie' son (a classical linkage)

       -a forever sage on a musical stage

        of a magical age and era...

A New Awlins boy

A Third Ward boy

          "Lil' satchel mouf boy-- lips so big--

           --look like he goin' on a trip"


From his humble roots and musical development

From beauty's scent

              softly, as in the first light of a morning sunrise...


Jazz Specialist          American Genius        Millennium Master


From a tradition...

From a brooding, melancholy blues tradition

From Congo Square shouts and stomps

From Ooga Booga

From a virtuoso who taught us how to listen

From opera singing socialites

From "hot" music emerging from ragtime

From "discerning critics of human nature"

From the articles and reviews:


                        "...his vivid, powerful playing..."

                        "...a unique, intense style..."

                        "...Such music gave encouragement to the Negroes

                               to escape from their masters..."


From the Great Migration to the big-shouldered city

From Goin' to Chicago, All Blues, Up A Lazy River,

            on a Stormy Monday, way before Sunny got blue

            (Well I'll be John Brown!)


...the Sportin' Life

   the cabarets and clubs

   the Plantation and the Showboat

   the gangsters and hoodlums and pride and pain

   the goodtime gals and the Sportin' Ladies

         Pretty boys and ladies' mens

         the lonely wimmins, weeping at the windows

         (All That Meat And No Potatoes)


From tight-lipped solos and ratty scats

From terminal vibratos and Uptown backbeats

From New Awlins style bands to Big Time Dance Bands

From Lakeshore Drive to Lake Shore Drive

(Goin' to Chicago)


From a tradition...

From Caribbean, Latin, and swingin' and scattin'

From a human life

From being born of a woman

          being born Backatown

From the brothels and cribs and dance halls and dives

From physical and emotional deprivation

          miseducation, family devastation

          (Sometimes I feel like a fatherless child)


From poverty and the cheapest food

From poverty and the cheapest housing

From poverty and the cheapest clothes

From poverty and the cheapest medical facilities

From poverty and the cheapest anything

To poverty and the cheapest everything...

(a separate inequality)

From falling killer bullets on New Year's Eve

(Falling bullets still kill)

From the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, y'all

From a barbershop quartet to a boys' home cornet

           to marches and rags

           to songs of silence and sentiment...

From composition and improvisation

    to repetition and invention

   (calculated, carefree swinging)

From show tunes to sho' nuff tunes

From Louis and Bernstein and Louis and Bing

         to Louis, the fella with Ella

        (Well, looky here)


From everybody who was somebody and anybody who was nobody

From jazzy nights out...

From music that romances and takes a-plenty chances

          with the antses in the pantses...


Music like...

                     Honey, Don't You Love Me Anymore?...

                     Do You Know What It Means To Miss New

                     Aw-leens When You're Smilin' In High Society?...

                     Save It, Pretty Momma...Surrender Dear...

                     Dream A Little Dream Of Me When It's

                     Sleepytime Down South...You Made Me Love You...

                     Yo' Big Fat Maw And Yo' Skinny Paw...

                     (Ya heard me?)

                     ...Baby Won't You Please Come Home...

                     Dis' Louis...I'm Yo' Sweet Lil' Poppa With the Jazzy Lips...

                     I Git Ideas…When We're Dancin'...I'm A Son of the South

                     --With Boo-Coo Jack...

                     I'm Yo' Big Butter and Egg Man From the West...

                     I Like It Slow...Tighter Than This & Hotter Than That...

                     I'm the King of the Zulus...I'm Not Rough...

                     I Ain't Misbehavin'...Ain't Got Nobody...Once In A While...

                     I'm Doin' the Georgia Grind with Sweet Savannah Sue

                     Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea on the

                     Sunny Side of the Banket When the Saints Go Marchin' In...

                     (You Sho'  Hit The Nail On The Head...)

                     Linger In My Arms A Little Longer and Dream A Little Dream Of Me...



What A Wonderful World

What A Wonderful World

What A Wonderful World...



From the blues to Broadway

From Storyville honkytonks to international tours

From King Oliver to the British Crown (You rascal, you)

          -the greatest trumpetier New Awlins ever put down

          -lil' Dippermouth boy

          -Satchelmouf Louie

          -Satchmo Louie

          -Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong


          -Native Son…




What A Wonderful World

What A Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World...






Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow passion and vision

Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow fire, desire and lust and light

Blow life, after life (sunsets unlimited)

Blow to rhyme and race

         and time and space

         and irony lace

Blow to fulfillment and faith...

Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow to Fonky Fat Tuesday and Lil' Skinny Minny

Blow to the soul of Mardi Gras (Yo', Woo-oo-ooty)

Blow to the souls of the faithful departed (Ah men-en-en-nnnnn)

Blow to the people

         to the principals and teachers

         and the players and the preachers

         to the educated tools and uneducated fools

         to the ministers, mayors and sinister players

         to whitecapped waters and redcapped porters

         to the people in the streets

         to the Doo woppers and the Dewdroppers


Blow to the Captain on the BIG WHITE HOSS

Blow what it means to be from New Aw-leens

Blow to the streets       Blow to the bankets

Blow to the siren sounds of sun-baked bankets

        "Ice-cold peaches, ba-na-nas, watuh-mell-ell-ell-on..."

Blow to the streets

Blow to Beale and Bourbon and Basin and Bienville

Blow to Looziana Avenue

Blow to Touro and Mee-row  (or Mee-row, to be historic)

Blow to Orleans and Claiborne

Blow to Back Alley Alice and the old Pink Palace

Blow to Tulane and Broad

(even though they tore yo' house  down)

Blow to Bessie, blue (moanin' in the moanin')

Blow to politicians "please, please, pleasing" at night

Blow to Uptown studs with the Backatown Blues

Blow like the St. Joseph's Day wind 'cross the bayou

(when the Injuns out)




(Blow the man down)





(Ooh, Bob Sha-bam)

Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow for the Baby Dolls and the Baby Gig

Blow for momma's baby and daddy's maybe

(What Kind Of Fool Am I-I-I-I-I-I-IIIIIIIIIIII?)

Blow Pops, Blow!


Blow to the people

Blow to the people

Blow to the language of the people

Blow for they mother and they father

Blow for they momma and they daddy

Blow for maw-maw and paw-paw

Blow "trumpetier" jazz (not "trumpeter" jazz)

Blow "gittin' ig'nan't" jazz (not "feeling perturbed" jazz)

Blow "all night long" jazz (not "last call" jazz)

Blow "write-up" jazz (not "article" jazz)

Blow "runnin' head" jazz (not "talking trash" jazz)

Blow second line jazz (not conservatory jazz)

Blow "hot" jazz" (not "lukewarm" jazz)

Blow "icebox" jazz (not "refrigerator" jazz)

Blow "pecawn" jazz (not pee-can jazz)

Blow "perm" jazz (not "poem" jazz)

Blow "alligator pear" jazz (not "advocado" jazz)

Blow "Esplanade" jazz (not "Esplanod" jazz)

Blow "parasol" jazz (not "umbrella" jazz)

Blow the people's jazz (not museum jazz)


Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow to the poor

         to the dignity of the poor

              the hard work of the poor...

Blow to waitin' tables so they chirrens could repair hearts

Blow to makin' beds so they chirrens could run hospitals

Blow to not havin' a grade school education

         (but they chirrens done finished college)

Blow to "makin' doo" and goin' without

         (so they chirrens could go wit)

Blow to being poor, but sendin' they chirrens to school clean

Blow to the po' lil' chirrens who ain't had nobody to do that

Blow to spatial gyration on a new plantation

Blow to the Saints and the Sinners

(and the Sinners and the Saints)

     "Don't be talkin' 'bout them Saints...

     'Bless you boys'...They need to be blessed...

     Them boys lose mo' than a Taliban soldier"

     (Oops -- ma ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-ad)


Blow, Louis Blow!

Blow to the needy and the greedy

Blow to BIG RED BERTHA in the back

Blow to lil' fonky Flora in the front

Blow to Willa-mee-ee-eena!


Blow for the Negroes!

Yes!   Yes!   The Negroes!

Negroes with hainkachiffs (in they hands)

Negroes with hainkachiffs (on they heads)

Second-linin', twine-timin' Negroes!

Seas and Seas of Negroes!

Knees and Knees of Negroes!

You'se and Me's of Negroes!

She's and He's and He's and She's of Negroes!

New Awlins Negroes!

Nanann Negroes!    Parann Negroes!

Red, Black, and Green Negroes!

Colorful Negroes!     Colorless  Negroes!

Dreamgirl Negroes!     Dreamboy Negroes!

Happy and Gay Negroes!

Straight Negroes!    Crooked Negroes!

Fun Negroes!     ROTUND Negroes!

Square Negroes!        Spare Negroes!

Curious Negroes!    Furious Negroes!

United  Negroes --


(no Negroes...)


Blow for the martyrs and memory

Blow for praise and proclamation

Blow for the great river, Mesechabe    

Blow for the hard work

Blow for the shovels and the axes

                                  and the hammas

                                  and the hoes...


Blow splendid songs of beauty and softness and love

                        songs of heat and passion

                        and flying away together

                                 in the dark, tender night...


Blow the blues, Louis

Blow the blues

Blow the bondage of the blues

         the freedom of the blues

         the poetry of the blues

         the hues and dues of the blues

         the lonesome, weary blues of Langston Hughes

Blow the hurt of the blues

         the majesty of the blues

         (Use yo' lips, boy -- blow)

Blow the I'ma Lil' Fat Boy From New Orleans

                 With Buckles On Ma Shoes

                 And A Horn In Ma Mouf Blues...

Blow the jelly-shakin', booty-quakin', banket-strollin',

                  unholy-rollin', slow-grindin',

                  never-you-mindin' blues...

Blow the I Still Gits Jealous Backatown Blues

         the Shipwrecked Blues, the Railroad Blues,

         the I Cain't Believe It Ain't Butter Blues,

         the I Gotta Right To Sing The Big Booty Blues

         (Hey-hey HEY)


The Married Blues

The Divorced Blues

The Here Come De Judge Blues

The Disorder In The Court Blues

The Why I Gotta Pay Her All That Money Blues?

The He Ain't Payin' Me Near 'Nuff Money Blues

The When You Snooze, You Looze Blues…


Blow the Rockin' Chair Blues      the Trumpet Lip Blues

         the I Double Dare You Blues    the Put 'Em Down Blues

         the Bionic Chronic Blues           the Dippermouth Blues

         the Life Is A Har-ar-ard Dose O' Medicine Blues                                                                               

         the Rainin' While That Lucky Old Sun Is Shinin' Blues

         (the Devil Beatin' His Wife And Marryin' His Daughter Blues)

         the Project Blues

         the Pontchartrain Park Blues (same blues, different key)

         the East Blues     the Cain't We All Git Along Blues

         the NOPD Blues    the Angola Bound Blues

         the I Got Picked Up For Forgery And Cain't Even Write My Name Blues

         the Nobody Loves Me But My Cellmate

                              (And He Could Be Jivin', Too Blues)

         the Hard Head Makes A Soft Behind Blues

         the Momma Blues      the I Brought You Here -- 

                  -- And I'll Take Yo' Behind Away From Here Blues

         the Gas Bill Blues    the 'Letric Bill Blues

         the Why Them People We Keep Votin' In Office

                   Let Them Light Bills Git So High Blues

         the I Ain't Gon' Slap You -- I'ma Bat The Mess Out You Blues

         the What Did I Do To Be So Black And Blue Blues

         the "Dear Old Southland" Blues

         the Sharecroppin', Head-woppin', Toe Cheese-lickin',

                    Poverty-stricken, I Ain't Got No Job Blues

         the Wish I Woulda Stayed In School Blues


         the Broke Blues

         the Baby' Daddy Blues

         the Baby' Momma Blues

         the Baby' Momma' Family Blues

         the Baby Daddy' Family Blues

         the Baby Momma' Girlfriend  Blues

         the Baby' Daddy' Podner  Blues

         the Everybody In Yo' Bizness Blues...

         the  Bugarman Blues     the Bugar Lady Blues

         the Girl, Why Don't you Git You A Job And Stop Droppin'

                   Them Babies Like Puppies Blues

         the Boy, Why Don't You Pull Yo' Pantses Up -- And Git a Job--

                    And Stop Makin' Them Babies Like Puppies Blues...


         the Old-Fashioned Blues       the New Age Blues

         the Babs Gonzales blues

         the I Paid My Dues blues

             Boo-Coo Blues     OO--OOh-Woo Blues

         the Lewinsky Blues  the Fire Engine Red Hot Lipstick Blues

         the Ice Cold Turlit Seat Blues

         the Sittin' On A Slopjar Blues

         the Git Down On It Blues

         the Boy -- Git yo' Big Lips Out Ma Face Blues

         the Girl -- What You Mean Dinner Ain't On The Table Yet Blues

         the You Betta Git The Funk Out Ma Face Blues

         the You Ain't Gon' Be Puttin' Yo' 13 TRIPLE EEEs

                       Under Ma Table No Mo' Blues...


         the Gray Hair Blues       the Bald Spot Blues

         the I Cleaned Out Ma Pocketbook

                       But I Threw The Wrong Stuff Away Blues

         the I Cain't Find My Blue Pills Blues

         the There Might Be Snow On The Roof -- 

                 But They's Fire In The Furnace Blues

         the You Been A Good Old Wagon -- 

                 But You Done Broke Down Blues

         the Po-Boy Blues

         the Walkin' To New Awlins Blues...



New Awlins -- where colorful natives dance in the streets

                        (and wear red on holidays)


New Awlins -- where the words "she passin'" have nothing to do with grades


New Awlins -- where there existed exhibitions of dances

                        that were particularly vicious in their

                        "effect upon young white women"

                        Dances like

                                             the Grind, the Messaround,the Sugar Hips & the Shimmy...

                                             the Snake Legs, the Boo-Coo Booty, the Sugar Foot Stomp,

                                             the teeny weeny, the Bulbstroker, the Camel Hump,

                                             the Butter Dish, the Coffee Cup, the Hot Coffee Cup, the 

                                             Hot Coffee Cup With Cream, the La-a-a-a-a-azy River, 

                                             the Texas Turnaround, the Howdy Booty, the Funky Butt,

                                             the Skankawank, the Here Minny-Minny  Here Minny- 

                                             Minny, and                   the Tricky Dick Nixon...



Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow Satchmo Summerfests and Satchmo Sandwiches

         Satchmo Pastries and Satchmo Pasties

         Satchmo Posters and Satchmo Parks

         Satchmo Cigars and Satchmo Cigarettes

         Satchmo Hainkachiffs and Satchmo Handkerchiefs

         Satchmo Pavilions and Satchmo Poems (them, too)

         Satchmo Pause For The Cause           Satchmo Draws!


Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow to an era when the people's choice

                          was the people's choice...


before the urbane renewal of jazz

before the "heir apparents" of jazz in need of hip replacement

(the new jack players)

before the maddened melody of post-pubescent punks

       --talkin' 'bout they the Savior of Jazz

before the jumpstarting upstarts who believe

       what they read 'bout theyself in the Picayune

       (Dum-dum    dee-dee-dee  dum-dum)

       --who believe them pitchers on the covers of they See-Deez


                                                                                         See Ma See-Deez”!!!


       (like they invented  the horn)

       -new prissy minstrels

       -bandshell banditos

       -headlines and paychecks

       -corporate money changers

       -slavemasters of the music

       (Kenny G. jazz)

       whole notes and bank notes

       (bottom line jazz)




       May they eat English beef on a Valuejet with Firestone Tires

       May they have the accuracy of a New Orleans weathercaster,

                                the honesty of a Louisiana politician

                                and the matrimonial fidelity of a New York governor...

       May they be forever condemned to "playing for the door" --

                                     -- at the gates of hell (they'd be rich, then)

       May they life savings be invested in Enron      

       May they have the credibility of a FOX News analyst

                      the truthfulness of a White House press secretary

                      and the hunting skills of Dick Cheney…

       May they chirrens look like them

       May the Florida Election Committee count they money

                 (and recount it, and recount it, and recount it...)


       They think "chitlin circuit" is a piece of pork in a radio

       They think "payin' dues" is something you do in a social aid & pleasure club

        (“SEE DEEZ!!!     SEE DEEZ!!!      SEE MA SEE DEEEEEEEEEEZ”!!!)   


Blow Louis, Blow!

Blow for their souls and the souls of the faithless, departed

(the wicked fire of earthly desire)

Blow for their imitations of life and perpetuation of unimagination

Blow for their mass-consumed melodies

(like they rewritin' musical achievement and presentation)

         -no impact on the music

         -just imitation of the music (auction block jazz)

         -recon figuration of the music

         -like they done generated a genre

         -like the music owe  them sumpin'

         -like they done rewrote history


         -like they not benefittin' from things like --

                 lil' things like --


                                          the denouement of segregation

                                          Neo Populism

                                          a wider ranging musical literacy


                                          the Internet

                                          the New Technology

                                          the advent of amplification

                                          the New Technocracy

                                          Mega-mass consumption

                                          the redefinition of Liberalism

                                          Monopolistic entertainment entities --


                                            --  and the fact that they had

                                                 people like Louis Armstrong

                                                 to build on


                                                           in the first  place...



Blow Louis, Blow...





Afternoon In Armstrong Park



That afternoon in Armstrong Park

two lovers, holding hands

A serene, sentimental song in their hearts

of far and distant lands

They laughed and tickled and teased each other

throughout their music's din

and breathed their laughter into the air

in the Indian Summer wind


That afternoon in Armstrong Park...

(c) 2000

Portions of this poem appeared in the New York Quarterly 2009.

*   *   *   *   *


MY NAME IS NEW ORLEANS: 40 Years of Poetry & Other Jazz

After surviving the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, Professor ARTURO, a New Orleans spoken word artist/musipoetryst, will have his book, My Name Is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry & Other Jazz, a 320- page collection of poetry, songs, psalms, paeans, toasts and hieroglyphs (1968 – 2008) published in late Spring 2009 by Margaret Media, Inc

Schedule your organization's venue for a performance/book signing:

*   *   *   *   *

Poetry Night at ESPE's (video and bio)

My Name is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry and Other Jazz
by Arthur Pfister aka Professor Arturo.

The professor finally has collected his wide range of performance pieces and poems in one grand volume! Six sections present his humor and authentic New Orleans roots: Impressions -- Mens & Wimmins -- Ascension (Extreme Unction) -- The Great Miscellaneous Mischief -- War & Peace -- Whipped!!!

*   *   *   *   *

Louis Armstrong West End Blues—The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven—Kalamu ya Salaam—This is the big bang, the origin of modern jazz. Before Louis Armstrong jazz music was mainly about ensemble work featuring piano players and/or bandleaders, particularly Jelly Roll Morton but also others such as Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and the up-and-coming Duke Ellington. But from 1921 when Armstrong went to Chicago, a major change was in the making.

By the time Armstrong went to New York to join Fletcher Henderson in 1924 people were coming out specifically to hear an amazing soloist. Satchmo was the preeminent personality in the music, but even so, no one was quite prepared for what Pops accomplished with a series of recordings known as the Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions.What did Pops do that was so different?

He established the blues as a basic foundation for modern jazz. He elevated the role of the soloists, not just himself as a feature in front of an orchestra, but rather Pops created a band of individual soloists, which was a radical departure from the collective improvisation of traditional New Orleans music and also from the heavily orchestrated arrangements of dance bands. He established scat singing and created a new style for American vocalists emphasizing rhythmic inflections and melodic variation rather than straight, operatic-like singing.

He introduced sophisticated harmonic improvisation with the soloist making on-the-spot variations. He established the trumpet as “the” major solo instrument in jazz and it would not be until the arrival of Charlie Parker that the trumpet’s reign would be challenged. Pick up any major book on the history of jazz and you will read ecstatic paeans about “West End Blues” (from Complete Hot Five – Volume 3). The opening fanfare alone is enough to establish the song as a masterpiece, but check also how Pops reverses the tradition of horn obbligatos behind a lead vocalist.—more Kalamu

*   *   *   *   *

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable deep and distinctive gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also greatly skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics).—wikipedia

Satchmo, the Documentary—Forty years ago (July 2011, the world lost one of the most influential musicians of all time. Dipper. Satchmo. Pops. The great Louis Armstrong, with his creative cornet and trumpet mastery, his distinctively gravelly voice and his remarkable stage charisma, not only revolutionized the American public’s relationship with jazz, but was also one of the first African-American entertainers equally revered by black and white audiences in a severely racially divided country. He codified the art of jazz improvisation and shaped the course of musical creativity for generations to come, his influence permeating a multitude of genres, eras, styles and subcultures.brainpickings

*   *   *   *   *

Trumpet Dreams—Kalamu ya Salaam—2006— Somewhere in America a young person looks at a trumpet. Ok, maybe they are not actually looking at a physical instrument. Maybe they are dreaming about a trumpet. Dreaming about playing a trumpet—the bell held high, gleaming in the sun, and people are dancing, and laughing, and shouting. Every riff played brings joy. Every move the dancers make in response, inspires our musician to higher heights of trumpetry. . . .

If this mythical kid dreaming of trumpet glory had studied the music, he certainly knew that King Oliver was the next trumpet great. Oliver traveled across the then new land called America, coast to coast. One of the iconic photographs of King Oliver and band was taken on the sidewalks of San Francisco. Coming rather early in the era of recordings, most of what comes down to us is but a pale sliver of sound compared to the reputation of the king, whose most lasting claim to fame was as a teacher and father figure for someone often considered the greatest jazz musician of all time: “Louis Satchelmouth” Armstrong.

Over the course of a long, long career that included hits in the 1950s, Armstrong grew to be affectionately known as “Pops” because he shouldered the responsibility of caring for and about at least three generations of jazz musicians. While Pop’s artistry as a trumpeter and vocalist will last as long as American culture lasts, what most of his fellow musicians valued most was the unstinting support he offered, including but not limited to, gifts of money when someone was down on their luck.

photo left: Herman Leonard

For the first half of the 20th century, you couldn’t get no bigger than Pops, couldn’t be more loved, or more welcomed worldwide. So when our kid is dreaming, undoubtedly the youngster envisions becoming as renown and loved as Pops was.

Armstrong’s shadow was so big that although he came along before the Harlem Renaissance, and although there were numerous other great jazz trumpeters including Bunk Johnson, who like Bolden came from the countryside, or Henry Red Allen (from Algiers, which is the part of New Orleans located on the west bank of the river), or Joe Newman, a stalwart of the Basie band, few knew that Joe was a New Orleans trumpeter, all of the brass men such as the aforementioned and many others notwithstanding, they were all dwarfed by the towering eminence of Louis Armstrong.

Within jazz in general there would be no serious challenge to Armstrong’s reign as the trumpet king until the meteoric rise of Dizzy Gillespie and the marathonic consistency of Miles Davis, both of whom would be eclipsed by another young man with a horn, another product of the New Orleans dream: Wynton Marsalis.—more Wordup

*   *   *   *   *

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Louis Armstrong in His Own Words: Selected Writings

Edited by Thomas Brothers 

These writings from jazz great Louis Armstrong swing with the same warmth, rhythms, and inventive phrasing that made his music so popular. Armstrong toured with a typewriter and used it often for journals, writing letters to friends or strangers, and supplying reporters with material about his life. Eavesdropping backstage on Armstrong and his bandmates would make worthwhile reading for any jazz fan or historian, regardless of Armstrong's ability as a writer. But Armstrong writes well, in a style completely his own. Editor Brothers provides context and insight through short introductions to each piece. But he has a deep respect for Armstrong and has interfered as little as possible with his idiosyncratic writing. Armstrong developed a unique usage of quotation marks, commas, dashes, and underscoring that gives the writing its rhythm. In a letter to his manager, Joe Glaser, he writes ``IJust, Love, Your, Checks, in, My POCKETSOH They look so pretty, until, I hate like hell to cash them.'' Armstrong uses jazz argot, much of it now assimilated into the language, translating when he thinks it necessary: ``Here's how we were busted (arrested to you) . . .''

Of some sharp sight-reading musicians he writes, "They might read a Fly Speck, if it get in the way.'' The collection covers Armstrong's entire life, from his poor beginnings in New Orleans to his heyday in Chicago to his last years in Corona, New York. But the most compelling reading comes from Armstrong on his passions for music, gage (marijuana), and laxatives. He even signed a telegram to President Eisenhower (offering to take ``those little negro children personally into Central High School'') ``Am Swiss Krissly Yours . . .'' Swiss Kriss was the herbal laxative to which Armstrong credited his health. This collection transcends jazz and conventional grammar, revealing the humor and spirit of a legendary entertainer.—Kirkus Reviews / LettersofNote


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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans.

The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered.

Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian

 Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 21 April 2012




Home Literary New Orleans

Related Files:    Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans  Evtushenko in Satchmo's New Orleans  Native Son: Louis Satchmo Armstrong (poem)  Satchmo Ain't Going Back No More

  Armstrong's Trumpet   buddy bolden's blues legacy     Didn't He Ramble   Buddy Bolden in New Orleans   Buddy Bolden Short Story 

Ode to a Magic City     What To Do With The Negroes?      Babii Yar  Lit a la Russe  Armstrong's Trumpet   Malcolm  SHINE and THE TITANIC  

Poem for Our Fathers  Poem for Our Mothers