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I'm putting away some books this morning, one of which is Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (seventeenth ed.). For fun-- and since I'm humming a tune-- I thought I'd look to see if Louis Armstrong said anything quotable. He did and I learned something, too! Thought I'd pass it along.

When asked what jazz is, he replied, "Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know."

But there's a footnote referencing an earlier quote by Thomas [Fats] Waller (1904 - 1943). When asked to explain rhythm, Fats replied, "Lady, if you got to ask, you ain't got it." 

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       I think my favorite story about Louis Armstrong is from his early years as a recording artist in the 1920's. Like many artists under recording contracts to specific labels in that era, he frequently cheated on his contract by recording for other labels under an assumed name. When the executives at his label, OKeh, confronted him with recorded evidence of his "infidelity," he responded: "I don't know who did that, but he will never do it again."

       From his earliest days as a cornetist with King Oliver to his later trumpet and vocal with the "Allstar" bands, like the one we saw in "High Society" (1956), Louis remained a force in Hot Jazz (Dixieland) and popular music. Speaking of force, when he recorded with King Oliver in the early 1920's, his playing was so powerfully that it disturbed the acoustical recording equipment. To get a good recording of him in the pre-electronic era (before 1925), it was necessary to have him play far away from the recording equipment, sometimes in another room.  

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