Louis Armstrong was a genius – no doubt about that.
But there’s no such thing as a genius in a vacuum.
For some strange reason, the culture and community that gave birth to Louis Armstrong is given short shrift in accounts of his life and art.
In his autobiography and in interviews, Armstrong painted a vivid picture of the world he grew up in, but until now, there has been no in-depth inquiry into what he meant when he said things like “I figure singing and playing is the same,” or, “Singing was more into my blood than the trumpet.”
Now thanks to Vic Hobson’s book “Creating the Jazz Solo” we’re starting to understand what he meant.
The music at the end this interview is “I’m an Old Cow Hand” composed by Johnny Mercer and recorded by Fairfield,Texas-born (1924) Kenny Durham on January 10, 1960. For a unique “discography” of Durham’s work, see Oliphant’s biography-poem KD: A Jazz Biography
A documentary short about Native Texas Poet Dave Oliphant. This documentary was filmed, edited, produced and directed by Kanya Lyons in 2018.
Oliphant was born in Fort Worth in 1939. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from Lamar University and the University of Texas, respectively, and his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. His primary reading and writing interest has always been poetry, but he has also written four books on jazz (primarily by Texas musicians).
He has translated poetry from Spanish and was a winner of the Texas Institute of Letters book translation award in 2011. In addition to fourteen collections of his own poetry, among them The Pilgrimage: Selected Poems 1962-2012, he has edited three anthologies of Texas poetry and one of Chilean poetry. For forty years he contributed essays on and reviews of Texas poetry to various state literary magazines, and 55 of those pieces were collected in 2015 in his Generations of Texas Poets.
He retired from the University of Texas at Austin after serving for 30 years in various capacities, from assistant professor to editor of a scholarly journal, senior lecturer, and coordinator of the Freshman Seminars Program. He lives in Cedar Park, Texas with his wife and muse, Maria.
The Jazz on the Tube podcast theme song is “Mambo Inferno” performed by The Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra conducted by Bobby Sanabria from the CD ¡Que Viva Harlem!
At the end of today’s interview, we featured “I’m an Old Cow Hand”, written by Johnny Mercer and performed by Kenny Dorham (Xanadu Records, The Kenny Dorham Memorial Album) recorded January 10, 1960 (4:12)
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Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Jackie McLean, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Fortune, Doc Cheatham, Sir Rolland Hanna, Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Chico Freeman, Hamiet Bluiett, and many others have all agreed: Ronnie Burrage.
In this call, we talk about Ronnie’s fascinating family, his career as a top go-to jazz drummer, and his inspiring work using music to serve the community.
Ronnie’s latest project is bringing young people to elder homes so they can enjoy music and talk about it – and life – together. Robbie calls it “gen-to-gen”, generation-to-generation, and we get into why it’s so important on the call.
You can support Ronnie’s community work by voting for his project.
You have to open an account to vote. After, you open the account you’ll be given choices to vote for. Vote for the World Rhythm Academy.
Yes, the process is a pain, but it’s worth doing.
Remember: The rules allow you to vote every day, once a day for the duration of the contest.