Anthology of American Folk Music

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February 16, 2008



Really interesting -- great job!

Did Armstrong live in St. Paul in 1919? Or was the riverboat he worked on in a different city (New Orleans?) in 1919 and moved to St. Paul by 1939?

The Celestial Monochord

Thanks, David.

Armstrong was very much from New Orleans. The boats would head up river to St. Louis and Davenport, etc., during the warmer months, wintering in the Big Easy. These musicians spread jazz up into the Midwest river valleys immediately after WWI, years before records found their way up there in serious numbers.

Armstrong quit the boats in 1921 (or 1922?), and I think he left New Orleans by train.

At least, all this is what I understand. Kenney's book "Jazz on the River" is incredibly good and interesting, and a wee bit more reliable on the subject than I am ...

Dan Emerson

I wrote a jazz review for the St. Paul P.P. a while back that mentioned Louis Armstrong. A woman who had read the article called me and said she and a friend had seen Armstrong and his group in Wis. sometime in the 1930s. She still had a card that was autographed by the band. Her friend mentioned to Louis that she wanted to learn the cornet. So he bought her one in Paris and sent it to her. That fits with his reputation for generosity.

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