"THE FIRST PUBLISHED BIOGRAPHY OF A JAZZ MUSICIAN": FIRST EDITION OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG'S FIRST AUTOBIOGRAPHY, SWING THAT MUSIC, 1936
ARMSTRONG, Louis. Swing That Music. New York: Longman's, Green, 1936. Octavo, original russet cloth, original dust jacket.
First edition of Armstrong's lively first autobiography—"one of the earliest American attempts to trace the development of jazz"—with Armstrong urging us to "never forget one minute that the true spirit of swing music lies in free playing," featuring frontispiece, full-page photographic image of his orchestra, and eleven rear folding leaves of music along with ten full-page photographic portraits of legendary musicians including Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey, in original dust jacket.
"Louis Armstrong asserted a level of individuality in musical interpretation, recomposition and embellishment far more radical than any that had preceded it in Western music… The immaculate logic of his improvised melodies, full of rhythmic surprises and virtuosic turns, influenced show-tune writers, jazz composers, big band arrangers and tap dancers. His harmonic innovations, as Wynton Marsalis has noted, were the most brilliant in the history of jazz: Armstrong figured out how to articulate the sound of the blues through Tin Pan Alley tunes without abandoning their harmonic underpinnings. 'Armstrong took two different musics and fused them so that they sounded perfectly compatible,' Marsalis says. 'Not even Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Monk and Coltrane did anything that sophisticated'" (Stanley Crouch, New York Times). "The first published biography of a jazz musician," Swing That Music, Armstrong's first autobiography, is "also one of the earliest American attempts to trace the development of jazz" (Dan Morgenstern). This fascinating and lively book tracks the life of swing music from the streets of New Orleans to the after-hours jam sessions at Harlem's Rhythm Club. "Never forget for one minute," he writes, "that the true spirit of swing music lies in free playing." First edition, first printing: "First Edition" on copyright page. Containing frontispiece portrait of Armstrong and full-page illustration of Armstrong and his Orchestra, along with eleven folding leaves of music at rear and ten full-page portraits of Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Bud Freeman, Red Norvo, Claude Hopkins, Carl Kress, Stanley Dennis and Ray Barduc.
Book fine, lightest edge-wear to colorful about-fine dust jacket.