Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Louis Armstrong - Seperatism and Jazz

For this blog post I focused on the influence of black African-Americans in American music and how the introduction of Jazz has changed the way not only America, but the world hears music.
At the beginning of the 1900's, it was not uncommon for people of black ethnicity to be forbidden entry to any type of music or sports clubs, with signs hung outside businesses reading such odious messages as "Whites only". This attitude meant that although white bands in rock and roll and early Jazz murmerings existed throughout America, many young and talented black Americans were forced to practice their instruments in the isolation of their homes.
This would not always be the case, however. Enthusiastic up and comers were determined to not let the colour of their skin hold them back from sharing their gifts with the world, As the website here dictates:

As a result, Louisiana was witness to a radical change in its Jazz music culture that was shaken up by the introduction of such taleted black men as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, James Booker and the Neville Brothers to name a few, who paved the way, (and in some cases, continue to) for many Jazz musicians who now grace blues clubs throughout America.

I would like to take a moment to focus on Louis Armstrong directly, as his own imprint on Jazz culture created a revolution that sparked a new era of African-American presence in the music culture, and inspired many black Americans to make their presence known through music. This also inspired many white Americans to consider the talent that balck Anericans brought to the industry.

This video is a documentary that talks about the effect that Louis Armstrong had on American music at the time and what it meant as the beginning of a new era of music in which black Americans became involved.

At 1:18 in the video, Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis describes Louis's talent with the trumpet as "the sound of a pure, spiritual essence, the sound of America and the freedom that it is supposed to offer."
I had also found this mentioned in other sources when researching Armstrong, that the power of the sound behind his trumpet was almost like a symbol of freedom, and could be seen as the longed-for freedom and justice that was so highly sought by downtrodden members of the black population in America.

Another comment made by the narrator which sums up his impact is at 3:41 "But it took his genius, conquering poverty, rascism and indifference, to turn it into America's most durable and original musical art."
This shows that Armstrong was no different in circumstance to any other African-American, and that he faced the same trials and tribulations as other black people, and in way I think that this may have invigorated others to try to stand up against oppression in a way that could be said to be more effective than violence - by impressing the oppressors to the point where respect and status is gained.

I think that a final quote from the video sums up the strength and respect to which he had gained from transforming the musical culture and uses to reach out to the black community is expressed in 9:34 which states: "In one of his earliest films a short subject rife with appauling stereotypes, he stood ankle deep in soap bubbles wearing a leopard skin, singing a minstrel song. He transcended it all. As a truly free man who could make offensive material serve his own ends. He became a hero to the black community."

No comments:

Post a Comment