Louis Armstrong loved performing and we all enjoyed his jazz music
immensely. He was a grandson of slaves, raised by various family
members, and led a troubled young life. He “beat the odds” and was
socially acceptable in the higher echelons of circles in his adult life
due to his talent while playing his trumpet, cornet or singing with his
famous ‘gravelly’ voice. One of his last informal interviews was with
some 13 and 14 year olds who “dared” to catch him alone and ask him
to let them talk to him.
There were three youngsters in New Orleans who were brass band
players. Their names were not given but this is a taped interview that
was released, considered kept “In the Vault.”
I imagine that it means that it was worth saving and releasing after his
death. The young teens managed to dodge the bouncers or protective
staff to get inside and knock on his behind the stage, dressing room
The great jazz artist was wearing boxer shorts and an underwear t-shirt,
tank top or what many consider ‘muscle’ shirts.
They were high school marching band players and told Louis Armstrong
that their favorite song was “When the Saints Go Marching In.” To the
gentle, soft spoken man, Louis thought they seemed like ‘new blood,’
needed ‘encouragement and some ‘inspiration.’
I would consider Louis Armstrong’s giving his private time a very valuable
gift given. His words of encouragement were meant to push them, to give
them the drive and determination to succeed.
When I hear of famous people giving their time to impart their thoughts
and wisdom, it makes my heart warm.
I am always glad when no rudeness is shown on either side. Young
people have always needed good role models.
Here is some of the ‘essence’ of Louis Armstrong’s informal but
“Be like shining stars in the sky.”
When asked how did he know how to become successful by the
trio of boys, Louis Armstrong gave these paraphrased words:
“I was determined. You have to be good or bad, it’s the devil.
Blow your horn daily. Warm up, practice, play and clean your
Keep up the chops!
You either have it or you don’t.
Play church hymns and include prayer in your life.
Find the songs that make you happy and play them daily.
In other words, play music to stay happy.”
(These lessons were meant to stay with the young men.)
When they asked, “How did you get your nickname, Mr.
“I got off a train in Bristol, England, had taken it to get to a club
where my band was playing. I have always had a large mouth
and on that day while carrying a satchel, someone remarked,
‘Satchel Mouth.’ From there, the shortened version of that
nickname became ‘Satchmo.'”
When the boys were shooed out of the dressing room by someone
entering, Louis Armstrong thanked THEM.
They thanked him back.
What an honor and a privilege for those young men!
I think if each person could have a conversation with the person they
most admired during their teenage years, we all would be so much
more motivated. Even now, who would you choose to talk to, living or
dead? I have admired Eleanore Roosevelt and Clara Barton, but so
many come to mind, I might need one of those tables that some create
for a fancy dinner party with famous people. Or maybe it would be nice
to have an informal picnic. This might get the guests relaxed and more
likely to share their bits of wisdom. Mine might have more than eight at