The 1920s were a period of freedom, victory, and widespread growth in jazz. Many Americans felt free and ready for celebration after the end of the first world war. This resulted in a rise in nightclubs and bars. Louis Armstrong is one of Jazz’s most popular figures. He became a major hit at nightclubs such the Cotton Club. Dutch Schultz of New York, an infamous gangster in New York, gave Armstrong the order to perform “(What did I do To Be So) Black and Blue”. His version “Black and Blue” was a huge hit. Louis Armstrong’s song “Black and Blue” accurately portrayed jazz during the 20s due to its use break-and-riff arrangements. You can see it in his repeated use of “Black and Blue”.
His style was different from the fast-paced, upbeat jazz of the 20s. Louis Armstrong’s blues-based approach to jazz led to a shift at the end of 20s. This can be seen in “(What did I do to Be so) Black and Blue”. The song has a distinct style from the jazz many are familiar with. It has blue notes and blue chord progressions, call and reply, Improvisation, repetition of lyrical structure, and an improvisation. These characteristics were unique to traditional jazz and attracted a lot of interest from Americans. Armstrong was an American Ambassador to Ghana and performed several songs for the over 100,000 Ghanais who attended his concert. The police used clubs to disperse the crowd after riots brokeout during the concert. Armstrong performed “Black and Blue” due to his sympathy for people. He described the struggle of a people that were coming out of decades colonialism optimistically but weren’t yet free. This feeling of shared struggle was repaid. Nkrumah sang “Black and Blue” while Armstrong’s version was also captured by the crew. Edith Wilson sang and wrote one of the earliest renditions of the song. This jazz version was composed. This was underground jazz, which used two singers and one piano. This was originally meant to refer to the unjust treatment of African Americans. Waller wanted the book to be a wakeup call about the privileges and rights that African Americans were denied compared to other races. Many restaurants, jobs and pools were divided by race. African Americans found themselves in harder-working jobs that paid less and required longer hours. Louis Armstrong had a different take on the song. He stripped the lyrics and added his personal touches to them. Because of the place he was playing his music, he tried to make the song more funny. He was a DJ in clubs with wealthy whites. They didn’t want to hear about the oppression of African Americans as they tried to party and relax. “In Hot Chocolates Razaf, the lyric was prefaced with a verse in that a dark-skinned lady complains about intra-racial discrimination.
Armstrong changed the chorus to a threnody that was appropriate for all blacks. Armstrong’s original version of “Black and Blue”, however, was not too lugubrious. Armstrong was aware of his audience and the music they liked. “I wouldn’t do anything that would require people to stare at the song with depressing thoughts and think about marching for equal rights.
Armstrong did alter the lyrics of “Black and Blue”, however, I think he is a great advocate for equality and racial tolerance. His job was to entertain the audience and perform. Although he was a blues musician, he did his best to keep his audience happy and focused on the positive things. He was still a strong advocate for African American rights. “..he was a “greater attraction between the whites than my people, a fact which has always troubled me …” He still cares deeply about his race and takes the opinions of others very seriously. Andy Razaf knew it was not as serious after all.
“Certainly, Razaf had the intention of “Black and Blue”, and it was clearer than anyone could have imagined-despite some who claim that the first verse is a plea for dark-skinned Africans. Razaf was also clever in his execution. He cleverly filled the opening chorus with comical, minstrellike images. “Feel like old ned,” “even my mouse ran from mine”- drawing in his listeners before his most powerful lines.
Armstrong was a role model and an influence for young African Americans. Armstrong can be regarded as one the first African Americans to become nationally well-known. He was the American dream symbol, of starting from nothing to achieve success. He was a great ambassador for the US. His trips to foreign countries were meant to improve the perception of America and also to show the world how to reduce racial tension and inequality.