Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hey Pops Lovers, Check Out These Websites...

I have ten minutes of free time right now and wanted to spend it spreading the word about some other great websites for the Louis lovers that I have been enjoying this week. First off, I've written about Michael Steinman's essential "Jazz Lives" blog before but it never hurts to mention it again (especially after the plug he gave me last week!). Michael's keeping the torch burning brightly for pre-bop jazz, showing an equal amount of enthusiasm for his heroes both dead and very much alive. He posts quite regularly and you never know what you're going to get: YouTube videos of the Washboard Serenaders, reviews of live shows on the New York scene (sometimes accompanied by video), detailed discussions of classic record sessions, a hopefully ongoing chronicle of Michael's attempts to learn the ukulele and most recently, a passionate plea to Ben Ratliff of the NY Times about the lack of coverage pre-bop jazz gets in that paper (earning a robust "Huzzah" from me as I read it. Dig it all by clicking here. Oh, and Michael's been enjoying sunny Maui for much of the New Year so in honor, listen to Pops do "On a Little Bamboo Bridge" with Andy Iona and His Islanders, a Decca record from March 24, 1937 that I love because, at least in my research, it's the first time Pops ever played his signature closing phrase. Which one? Just give it a listen and you'll hear him scat it twice and play it once. Dig it...


Also, my good friend Dave Whitney, a wonderful trumpeter from Boston, writes Pete Kelly's Blog. The other day he posted a massive entry on Frank Assunto and the Dukes of Dixieland. I don't think anything else can be added to it...Dave covers all bases including the Pops sessions. Click here to read this labor of love.

While I have your attention, has anyone gone to Columbia's Jazz Studies Online web resource? There's so much on this site, it's scary but I was particularly pleased to see the 1950s issues of The Jazz Review available in complete form as PDFs. There, you'll find Louis's autobiographical "Scanning the History of Jazz" piece, as well as Martin Williams's very long review of Armstrong's Autobiography project for Decca. Click here to see what the fuss is all about.

The entire archive of The Gramophone is also online now, available at www.gramophone.net. Type "Louis Armstrong" in the search bar and be prepared to give up an afternoon. 809 results show up and they run the gamut from positive reviews from the early 1930s to negative reviews from the 1950s and 1960s that will make you take a baseball bat to your monitor. Don't say I didn't warn you...

And finally, as I was preparing this little tour of the web, I received an e-mail from the one and only Uwe Zänisch, our German friend who hipped me to that home video footage I posted last week. Uwe knows how to search the web deeply for Pops footage and he's decided to showcase his findings on a new blog cleverly titled "Satchmotube." Uwe has organized a large amount of Armstrong clips by date, as can be seen in his right-hand column. (The "99" is just a prefix but the last two digits refer to a year.) Uwe's just getting off the ground but he promises to post a link to one or two videos a day so between my rants and raves over here and his video postings over there, it'll be easier than ever before to get your daily dose of Pops. Click here to check it out.

And finally finally, trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso recently made his way over to this site and liked what he saw. I've been a huge fan of his work for over a decade now and just want to give him the proper shout-out. To learn more about him and where's he playing, go to his website by clicking here and don't forget to pick up his latest Arbors disc while your at it, Blue Roof Blues, a fantastic collaboration with clarinetist Evan Christopher.

S'all for now, my friends. I'll be back tomorrow morning (the 16th) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of Armstrong's greatest tours. Til then!

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