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L is for Licks, Hot

May 7, 2008

Louis Armstrong

I took a history of jazz class my last semester of college, thinking it would be a cake walk, seeing as how it was an online class. Yeah, I was writing essays for that class in a hotel room in Madison, when I should’ve been out “enjoying the town”. I must’ve read three or four books in all and listened to 5 hours worth of lectures a week, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is when you’re really not interested in school anymore. We were supposed to watch all of Ken Burns’ Jazz series, but that’s still in my Netflix queue, so that should tell you how that went.

I played alto saxophone in school, but I never had space in my schedule for jazz band. I like jazz, I’ve always wanted to become better versed in the genre, but it is so complex and dizzying that I always get overwhelmed and give up. One of my favorite teachers from high school gave us a mix cd of great jazz songs. I’m not sure why-it may have had something to do with Invisible Man. There were a couple Louis Armstrong songs on there, the one I remember off the top of my head was “Cheek to Cheek.” I do know if that there’s one album of Louis’s that you should listen to if you’re trying to get into jazz, it’s Hot 5’s and 7’s. If you don’t know much about jazz, Louis Armstrong pretty much changed the game. My knowledge doesn’t do him justice, but there are plenty of great resources you can find. I’ll let you know how that documentary goes when I finish watching. I think it’s after The Sopranos, though.

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