The Complete Louis Armstrong: Columbia & RCA Studio Sessions, 1946-1966

Just released by Mosaic Records with a 30,000 word essay from biographer Ricky Riccardi. Here is The London Jazz News review and the Jazz History Online review.

Now that Riccardi has been hired to complete a three-volume biography of Armstrong, he will continue to illuminate listeners of the many wonders of Armstrong’s discography. Armstrong has found his Boswell, even though they never met in person.

In short, the entire collection is an intoxicating cocktail of profundity and joy.

Walker Percy Wednesday – 13

Happy people were worse off in their happiness in museums than anywhere else, he had noticed sometime ago. In here the air was thick as mustard gas with ravenous particles which were stealing the substance from painting and viewer alike. Though the light was technically good, illuminating the paintings in an unexceptionable manner, it nevertheless gave the effect of descending in a dismal twilight from a vast upper region which roared like a conch shell. Here in the roaring twilight the engineer stationed himself and watched people watch the paintings. Sometime ago he had discovered that it is impossible to look at a painting simply so: man-looking-at-a-painting, voilà!—no, it is necessary to play a trick such as watching a man who is watching, standing on his shoulders, so to speak. There are several ways of getting around the ravenous particles . . . Yet the young man, who was scientifically minded, held himself sufficiently detached to observe the behavior of other visitors. From his vantage point behind the pillar he noticed that the people who came in were both happy and afflicted. They were afflicted in their happiness. They were serene, but their serenity was a perilous thing to see. In they came, smiling, and out they went, their eyes glazed over. The paintings smoked and shriveled in their frames.

Walker Percy, Philosopher

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (52)

Have you abandoned your project to form a political party or nominate a candidate for president by divine right? I remember that when I finally met you and challenged your political apathy, you came up with this idea. I knew that it was a reactionary project, but it at least showed that you were developing some political consciousness. Please write to me about the matter. I am very concerned. We need a three-party system in this country, and I think that day by day the fascists are growing in strength. This Divine Right Party is the sort of fringe-group scheme that would syphon off a large part of the fascist support.

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Lonnie Donegan

Born on this date, the father of British skiffle. See Bruce Eder’s bio-sketch and Mark Kermode’s “My 20-year love affair with the joy of skiffle

Jimmy Page, aged 14, appeared on television playing guitar in a well-groomed schoolboy skiffle combo. ‘And are you going to continue to play skiffle when you leave school?’ asked the interviewer earnestly. ‘Er, no,’ replied Page politely, ‘I want to do biological research’ – which indeed he did, sort of.

He’s relatively little remembered outside of England, but Donegan shares an important professional attribute with Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Sex Pistols — he invented a style of music, skiffle, that completely altered the pop culture landscape and the youth around him, and for a time, completely ruled popular music through that new form. What’s more, his music, like that of Presley and Haley, was vital to the early musical careers and future histories of the Beatles, the Stones, and hundreds of other groups. And he did it in 1954, before Elvis was known anywhere outside of Memphis and before Bill Haley was perceived as anything but a Western swing novelty act.

Walker Percy Wednesday – 12

The sun is shining, people live well, go about satisfying their needs and achieving goals, work at creative jobs, attend cultural attractions, participate in interesting groups. This is, by every calculation, as it should be. Yet it was on just such a day as this, an ordinary Wednesday or Thursday, that he felt the deepest foreboding. And when his doctor, seeking to reassure him, suggested that in these perilous times a man might well be entitled to such a feeling, that only the insensitive did not, etc., it made him feel worse than ever. The analyst had got it all wrong. It was not the prospect of the Last Day which depressed him but rather the prospect of living through an ordinary Wednesday morning.

Walker Percy, Philosopher

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (51)

His blue and yellow eyes rested on an unopened manila envelope on the top of the toilet. For quite a while Ignatius had been trying to decide whether or not he would open the envelope. The trauma of having found employment had affected his value negatively, and he was waiting until the warm water in which he wallowed like a pink hippopotamus has a calming effect upon his system. Then he would attack the envelope. Paradise Vendors should prove to be a pleasant employer. He would spend his time parked somewhere by the river accumulating thoughts for the Journal. Mr. Clyde had a certain paternal quality that Ignatius liked; the old man, the scarred and wizened mogul of the frankfurter, would be a welcome new character in the Journal. At last Ignatius felt relaxed enough and, raising his dripping hulk out of the water, picked up the envelope. He tore the envelope open, wetting the paper, and pulled out a folded poster that said in large letters:

LECTURE! LECTURE!

M. Minkoff speaks boldly about

“Sex in Politics: Erotic Liberty as a Weapon Against Reactionaries”

8 p.m. Thursday, the 28th

Y.M.C.A. – Grand Concourse

Admission: $1.00 – OR – Sign M. Minkoff’s Petition Which Aggressively Demands More and Better Sex for All and a Crash Program for Minorities! (The petition will be mailed to Washington.) Sign now and save America from sexual ignorance, chastity, and fear. Are you committed enough to help in this bold and crucial movement?

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Dumpstaphunk: new album

The sludgiest groove around. Overlooking the typo (plant should read planet) here is the best characterization (written by David Kunian) I’ve come across of the band:

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