‘Bradbury retells the familiar story of the master-builder of jazz in a cool, elegant format . . . with hitherto unpublished reminiscences from Armstrong’s closest associates. The book’s production aptly blends authentic folklore, evocative photographs and eye-witness accounts from each of Armstrong’s seven decades. Every third or fourth page is embellished with succinct verbal sketches of virtually everything and everyone that Armstrong got involved with …’
Michael Horowitz, Sunday Times
‘The best biography of Armstrong.’
Steven Poole, Guardian
‘It is a fine and well-researched introduction’
George Melly, Daily Mail
‘The latest book on Louis Armstrong is the most enthralling of all, as it blends David Bradbury’s extensive knowledge and enthusiasm fro the subject succinctly, making it an excitable and enjoyable read.’
Few people now can remember seeing Armstrong with a big band, so the images that endure belong to the All Star era. As it drew to a close, we remember his big flat feet plodding down the microphone; the white handkerchief used not so much to dab his forehead as to wipe across his mouth between trumpet solo and vocal; the introspective pout of his lips before beginning to sing; his gestures while singing or talking (almost all made by his right hand because trumpet was being carried in the left) with the thumb and little finger spread out and the other fingers close together as if ready to clamp down again on the three valves; his vast smile, looking broader than ever as his face thinned and narrowed.
He earned the awestruck admiration of a global audience, crossing the boundaries of geography, politics and race. His inimitable voice, the poetry of his trumpet and his mastery of improvisation made him ‘Mr Jazz’. David Bradbury’s new biography is wonderfully alive and musically authoritative.
A jazz fan since his schooldays, DAVID BRADBURY was able to talk to many musicians while he was based in New York as a British correspondent reporting on America. Now a freelance writer, he lives with his wife in North London. His book Now That’s Funny! Writers on Writing Comedy, co-authored with Joe McGrath, was described as ‘intelligent and enthusiastic’ (Peter Bradshaw, Evening Standard) and ‘a good laugh’ (Arthur Smith, The Guardian).