Louis Armstrong's Interpretation Of 'Black And Blue'

852 Words4 Pages
Rohan Barkley U0821967 Written Project Louis Armstrong’s interpretation of “Black and Blue” incorporated some racial struggles, distinct ambiances, and a little scat singing. African-American culture during the 1920’s was prospering and thriving in America, and Armstrong made large contributions to the musical aspect with his art (Basinger, Influence of Louis Armstrong). The excerpt from the song “Black and Blue,” “My only sin is my skin, what did I do to be so black and blue (Armstrong, song lyrics),” exemplifies a bit of the pain and suffering of African-Americans during this time period. The blues scales he infused into his interpretation of the work really expressed the blues sentiment that was introduced to Jazz music. This blues vibe…show more content…
Michael Meckna in Satchmo explains it perfectly, “In the Broadway show, ‘Black and Blue’ is the lovelorn lament that a dark-skinned woman sings about always losing out to fairer-skinned rivals. Armstrong’s recording brings out a subtext of racial discrimination and protest. He tells a sad tale but without excessive whining…” (Meckna, p. 38). The revue, Connie’s Hot Chocolates, seriously dramatizes the racial situation with whites and blacks, but Armstrong’s work does not go to that degree of extreme mournfulness and heartbreak (Meckna, p. 38). In Hot Chocolates, an African-American woman literally complains and protests against the racial discrimination of that time period, but the manner in which Armstrong sang “Black and Blue” was neither gloomy or whiny but funny and pleasurable (Teachout, p. 139). Also, Armstrong’s chorus in the song touched upon African-Americans of all tones and complexions, so it seems that he was speaking on behalf of a broader group of people (Teachout, p. 139). The “recitativo vocal style” he utilized stresses the sadness, but his decorative trumpet solos offset the misery and wretchedness (Meckna, p.

    More about Louis Armstrong's Interpretation Of 'Black And Blue'

      Open Document