happy fourth of july everyone!!!
-- today is one of my high holy days; no, not because of that piece of parchment
, although its words still give humanity cause for hope, and unconsciously expose one of the united states' two achilles' heels (especially "the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions" bit) -- no, today is an international high holy day, for it marks the date on which Louis Armstrong
, the most revolutionary musician of the twentieth century, who taught the world not only how to swing, but how to sing and how to solo...
of course, since Armstrong's death, it has been discovered that his after-the-factual birthday is August 4, 1901 -- a fact of which Armstrong himself was unaware during his lifetime; all he knew was when, as a child, he asked his mother, "when was i born?" she told him he was born on independence day, in the year of the riots
, which occured in 1900, and Louis had no reason to doubt her -- even to the point of registering for the draft a year and a month before he was actually eligible -- not exactly the actions of a man who chose the date for its symbolic associations or who was attempting to appear a year older than he actually was... nor was it a later publicity stunt -- it merely illustrates that one doesn't have to travel too far back into american history, to find individuals who were completely illiterate, temporally as well as in the usual sense of the word, associating important life events not with specific dates, but tied to significant events...
if you are in NYC
on july 4th
, you can hear WKCR's twice-annual aural celebration of Armstrong, from midnight on the 4th through midnight on the 5th (local time, UTC -4) at 89.9 on the FM dial; if you don't live close enough to new york to pick up WKCR's signal, can always listen to WKCR's live audio stream, which comes in 2 flavors:
WKCR's live MP3 stream, or
- WKCR's RealAudio stream
and, if you read this -- or i end up posting it -- after the fourth, you can still listen to archived tributes to Louis Armstrong
(as well as a number of other festivals and marathons, from Bix Beiderbeck
to Ornette Coleman
) -- there's also the wealth of archived materials from Armstrong's early, precedent shattering, early recordings at RedHotJazz.org
don't ever forget: Pops is Tops!