8711Re: Jonah Jones
- Jun 2, 2011--- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "serapion@..." <serapion@...> wrote:
> It seems a fairly ordinary thing to bill someone as Louis Armstrong No.2 especially since so many great trumpeters thought the best anybody could do was come second...Not such a come-down if you know how good the best is and are (g)ood enough yourself.Absoulutely agreed, Robert, but you've introduced a moniker that was not mentioned previously! And I'm not sure why, since we were discussing "King Louis II", with the additional understanding that it was directed not at other musicians but at the general ticket buying public.
The ideas may seem similar-that of a skilled trumpeter in the Armstrong style-and that the billing was a commercial ploy is obvious, but my thoughts were about the context in which it occured. We know that Louis and Lil eventually settled into warm acceptance of each other (Jones and Chilton p.124-128 give quotes and a picture decades later that prove this). But in early 1935, Louis was just returned from Europe and resting his lip, in a period of reorganization and lessened activity, and more to the point, Lil was suing him for six thousand dollars. So separated since '31, not to be divorced until '38, and significant financial adversaries, this might well have been a low point in their relationship, and that is why the "Mrs. Armstrong and King Louis II" billing struck me as possibly including just a bit of a jab at King Louis I. Not really anything more, nor any commentary on Jonah's ability or role.
I am of course aware of Jonah's great lifelong open playing, but mentioned his later success in relation to his muted playing because of the irony that he had been doing so since before his earlier fame, from whence he still gets lumped into the "Armstrong followers" category. And his post war quartet's pop success was not equaled by any other member of that group that I can think of, thus I find it ironic that he did so using a capability that he'd had during the earlier time that some jazz taxonomists use in their assessments of him. Mild irony, that's all.
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