When it comes to jazz music, everyone, even those who don’t listen to much jazz at all know the name Louis Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong is an integral part of jazz history. He was also one of the first African American artists to receive appreciation on stage. He was even the first African American to star in a Hollywood film. Louis’s story is one that is known and remembered by jazz and music lovers the world over.
Someone who was as influential as Crosby and according to some, a musical genius that rivaled and surpassed Frank Sinatra in ways was a gentleman named Bing Crosby.
A little Bit on Crosby
Most people today know the name Bing Crosby from the hit duet he did with Louis Armstrong titled; Gone Fishing.
Born Harry Lillis Crosby (Jr.), on May 3rd, 1903, Bing was already on his rise to fame before he met and began working with the wonder Louis Armstrong.
Apart from being the first superstar in the US, with record sales exceeding the millions, and more hits than the Beatles, Bing was an influencing force in the music industry post-war.
Crosby played with numerous outfits and was a radio and TV sensation due to his career as a musician and actor. Apart from this, he also partook in certain business ventures like funding research on what would later be called the videotape!
We could go on about the magnificent Bing Crosby and his accolades but we’re now going to tell you a little bit about his relationship with Louis Armstrong.
The Delightful Duo
There are many who credit Bing with having supported and backed up Louis Armstrong helping him succeed. There are others who claim it was Armstrong’s talents that favored Crosby and his career. Neither of these situations is true, in fact, both these men were mammoths in their own right and both shared a deep respect for each other’s abilities.
The Nature of Their Relationship
When interviewed later in life, one of the things stated by Crosby according to sources, was that some of his most cherished moments were those he spent working with his contemporary Armstrong. The two crossed paths in the twenties and were both blown away by each other’s talents. Crosby in particular was stunned.
They collaborated on numerous bodies of work which included musical recordings, films and other projects. Crosby would always support Louis in every way possible, not just on stage but in day to day situations as well.
By the 30’s, the duo was thick as thieves with everything from record labels to production houses on their heels for more music or film.
Strong to the End
When you have two such large personalities working together, you would think a fallout or ego battle would be inevitable. Though Crosby and Armstrong were titans by way of music then and even now, the two worked together and remained close till the very end. Crosby made no bones about his respect for Armstrong and his work. He was even among the honorary pallbearers present during Louis’s burial and continued to praise the man till his own death a few years later.
What They Taught Us
Our jazz band specializes in just the kind of jazz music that Crosby and Armstrong used to play. That’s basically traditional jazz like swing, ragtime and Dixieland. We’ve grown up listening to their tunes and they have taught many of us about music, about jamming, about playing as a group and about the bonds that exist between two friends.
Though many musicians have followed these two giants, we feel their legend is one that has yet to be surpassed.
Watching Louis and Bing play must have been really something and it’s a shame most of us will never really get to witness such magnificence in person. That said, we do know a lot of their standards and would love to entertain you and your guests with them.