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If this is your first visit, welcome to my blog of memories and observations. If you wish to be notified of new posts, enter an e-mail address above, and click on "Submit." As we move through a seventh year of this venture, I thank all who have made regular visits, as well as fellow bloggers who have found Stomp Off worth linking to. Doing this sort of thing is time-consuming, but I try to post fresh material at least once a week—let me know what you think. There is a Commentary option at the end of each post and a Guest Book can be reached by scrolling down and clicking on the quill image. I welcome your observations, reaction and/or suggestions in either spot—or both. As for blog content, the most current posts are on the home page, starting at the top. Earlier items are listed by month, year and title in the archive index. To zero in on a particular key word or subject, use the search option that is located directly beneath the blog's masthead. Most images can be enlarged with a mouse click, and there are links to some of my favorite blogs, etc. Since visitors have come from 150 countries, a translator with numerous languages is located below. You can at any time revert to English with a click at the top left of this page:

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11/6/11

Lil Armstrong 1968


I previously posted  two parts of an interview I did with Lil Armstrong when she visited New York with Franz Jackson's Chicagoans in December of 1968. They played at the Village Gate and were on a tour that had taken them to the Caribbean, including Guantanamo Bay. The interview was done in my apartment, in the very room from which I am making this entry, and I knew there had to be a third reel lying around, somewhere in my tape closet. 

Click on image to enlarge it.
I was right, so here is the third and last part of this interview. I have not done anything to clean it up (i.e. remove rough spots), because I think it is what it is, and there is a better feel to it this way. I did, however add a piece of music at the end, Clip Joint, because Lil mentions it as being among her favorite recent recordings. It stems from one of the February 1961 Chicago sessions that I produced for the Riverside "Living Legends" project. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, that recording trip was an many ways a disaster, because my recording engineers were more familiar with capturing auto races, dripping faucets, and Shakespearian drama. They did, in fact, not care mush for traditional jazz. You will notice that the balance leaves much to be desired, although this was one of their better efforts.

To be fair, I had scheduled Lil to record with two different groups, but technical problems and inexperience delayed the first session to a point where I had to combine the two. Thus, this is a bigger band than we were expecting to record, so that may account for some of the imbalance. Hearing Lil's effervescent voice on these tapes reminds me of how much I miss her—she was one of the warmest and most wonderful people I had the good fortune to meet and become friends with as I moved about on the music scene.

A caveat: There is a book titled "Just For a Thrill" that purports to be a biography of Lil, but it is not worth the paper it is printed on. The author, James Dickerson, did an appalling job of research—shallow and rife with misinformation that is compounded by his peripheral knowledge of jazz and its history. To make up for that lack, he included pages of filler material about gangsters and other unrelated subjects. When he approached me in his search for material, I quickly concluded that his prime objective was not to document Lil, but to throw together yet another book. Assembly line authors have always bothered me, so I decided not to become his accomplice. The late Leslie Gourse ran a book factory, and I bet you can name a few more. This sort of exploitation puts a dent in jazz literature and invariably does more had than good. from never really works. 

This photo was taken by Steve Shapiro during the session:

The circle of horns (l to r): Franz Jackson, Al Wynn, Leroi Nabors, Bill Martin, Preston Jackson, Eddie Smith, and Darnell Howard. Pops Foster is on bass and Booker Washington on drums. That's me seated to the left of the drums. The date was September 7, 1961 and the place was a popular Chicago jazz club, The Birdhouse.

If you wish to hear parts 1 and 2 of this interview, here are the links: Part One, Part Two.

10 comments:

  1. Really lovely and very touching to listen to this - great interview, thanks Chris!

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  2. Still following Chris... as always great bits of History.

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  3. Dear Chris,

    That inscription from Louis, "Hubby," at the top of the page, is both touching and sad. Any date on it or on the photo? Wonderful first-hand materials: you are generous to offer them to us. Cheers, Michael Steinman

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  4. Thank for popping in between video shoots, Michael :) Louis dated the inscription September 23, 1929.

    I'm still a regular over at Jazz Lives and you deserve plaudits for helping it maintain that status.

    As for sharing, isn't that what it's suppose to be all about? It does not make sense to love something as passionately as we do jazz, and keep it to ourselves.

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  5. I enjoyed this are you the Chris Alberstson that wrote Bessie? or a book on Billie Holiday?

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  6. Thank you, Jahlaune. Yes, I wrote Bessie, a biography of Bessie Smith. You will find several pertinent posts if you look around my blog.

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  7. LHA sounds like what my dad would call "a real live wire." What a lively, charming woman. The interviewer does well too. :)

    Hearing your exchanges about the Beatles is esp. great and a little mind-boggling.

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  8. Chris,
    Very happy to hear another chapter from your Lil interview. Your memories of and writing about Lil remain most inspiring to me as I look back on my year with Louis Armstrong and my blog from 2011 (www.louisarmstrongdeadat.blogspot.com). Thanks for your comment.

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    1. Thank you, Margo. I love reading your blog. You write well and do your homework, but—most importantly—your love for the music and the people who created it shows to great advantage for all.

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  9. Chris, I just found your blog in a Google search and can't wait to listen to the Lil Hardin interviews. I am Franz Jackson's daughter and would love to chat with you sometime. I hope you won't mind if I post a couple of these pics on the Facebook page I maintain for my dad - with credit to you, of course. Lil and my father were very good friends and I recall hearing very fond stories of her throughout the years. Feel free to contact me if you'd like. You can find my contact information on franzjackson.com. Best, Michelle Jewell

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