Re: Youngren's articles on Bix and Louis

by Glenda Childress

Some of Youngren's remarks about the playing styles of Bix and Louis Armstrong sparked a memory of Clive James' analysis in Cultural America.

The research done by Randy Sandke in Where the Dark and Light Folks Meet puts to rest James' points about black artists being denied royalties more than were whites in the early period, (it seems they all were) but his comparisons of Armstrong and Bix in personality and especially style are similar to Youngrens. I have a copy, but found that this excerpt had already been posted on the Forum. Those who haven't seen it might want to read it here:

You had remarked that you object to James' characterization of Bix as "blue to the core" with a melancholic undertone to his solos. His work is joyful and full of life, but I do hear what James is describing as well, especially when you listen to Louis and Bix back-to-back. I think that's what some writers are trying to get at when they talk about Bix's "layering of emotion." To me, that's an added element I like. Louis can sort of wear you out (with that "crackling excitement" James speaks of) over a long session of listening, but Bix never does.

Although some of his facts may be somewhat questionable, this piece by James has some good thoughts, well worth reading for those who haven't seen it already.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012, 7:38 AM

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