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He was born "black, poor, and lucky." The glowing story of "Satchmo"—the great jazz musician, Louis Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong has been called the most important improviser in the history of jazz. Although his New Orleans neighborhood was poor in nearly everything else, it was rich in superb music. Young Louis took it all in, especially the cornet blowing of Joe "King" Oliver. But after a run-in with the police, 11-year-old Louis was sent away to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys where he became a disciplined musician in the school’s revered marching band.
Ultimately, he was to travel the world from Chicago to Paris and would transform jazz through his improvised singing ("scatting") and masterful trumpet playing. He played with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and other jazz greats of his day. Armstrong was the first African-American man to host a national radio show, and the first jazz musiciain to write an autobiography.
This is a joyful tribute to the virtuoso musician and buoyant personality who introduced much of the world to jazz. The author's note includes a detailed biography and resources to learn more about Louis Armstrong and jazz.
About the Author
Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome have collaborated on many award-winning picture books for children. These include Before She was Harriet, a Coretta Scott King honor book; Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the first Black-and-White Jazz Band in History; Satchel Paige, which was an ALA Best Book for Children and Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, which received starred reviews in Booklist and School Library Journal. They live in the Hudson River Valley region of New York.
"Despite impoverished beginnings, music and a prevailing joie de vivre carried young Louis Armstrong from the streets of New Orleans to the stages of New York City, Hollywood, and Europe. . . . Ransome’s fluid watercolors bring to life both the New Orleans neighborhood Armstrong called home and his musical passion—he’s holding or playing his horn in nearly every scene. A detailed author’s note dives deeper into the performer’s life, rounding out a solid introduction to Satchmo."—Publishers Weekly
"Cline-Ransome traces Armstrong’s storied arc, from an impoverished New Orleans childhood to his apex as a giant of jazz. . . . Ransome’s vivid, saturated paintings depict cityscapes and riverboats, framing Armstrong in windows and rectangular insets, and capturing the music’s joy in paradegoers’ faces"—Kirkus Reviews