Saturday, July 5, 2008
"For Posterity": The Personal Audio Recordings of Louis Armstrong
The Spring/Summer issue of The American Archivist has a fascinating article about Louis Armstrong's personal audio recordings and collages. The collages intrigue me because they are "visual jazz" and use enormous amounts of scotch tape, the bane of archivists! How are they being preserved?
From the abstract:
"Louis Armstrong exerted a defining influence on one of the most influential products of the American imagination: jazz. As noted by one of Armstrong's biographers, however, Armstrong's character was 'buffeted by the forces of racism and commercialism.' From the perspective of the archives, Armstrong's reaction to these influences was a form of psychological withdrawal that often coalesced around this interaction with recording technologies. Armstrong developed an intimate relationship with audio recording and relied upon its particular form of capture to shape a posthumous identity that was beyond the distortive influences that shaped his public and commodified image, and that was appreciably honest in its relationship with, to use Armstrong's word, 'posterity.'"
The PDF of "For Posterity": The Personal Audio Recordings of Louis Armstrong is available from The American Archivist online.
Visit Satchmo.net, the official site of the Louis Armstrong House and Archives.
The Paris Review offers some pictures of the collages.