Between 1929 and 1947, Armstrong transformed himself from a little-known trumpeter in Chicago to an internationally renowned pop star, setting in motion the innovations of the Swing Era and Bebop. Riccardi traces Armstrong's mid-career fall from grace and dramatic resurgence. Featuring never-before-published photographs and stories culled from Armstrong's personal archives, Heart Full of Rhythm tells the story of how the man called "Pops" became the first "King of Pop."
Heart Full of Rhythmis an all-encompassing, vividly detailed biographical portrait of one of the richest careers in all of music ... Mr. Riccardi, the director of research collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, N.Y., takes us through every recording session, and what seems to be an equally exhaustive list of surviving audio and video documents, including radio shows and movies ... What could have been a dry collection of record reviews instead becomes, in Mr. Riccardi’s hands, the most interesting part of the whole work.
Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong tells the pivotal story of Armstrong leaving the narrow loyalties of Carroll Dickerson’s Orchestra - the haphazard arrangements, the often-tenous finances, the desperate fraternal loyalty, the unmistakable on-stage magic - and stepping onto a much broader stage ... Heart Full of Rhythm is every bit as full and human as What a Wonderful World; in both cases, Riccardi, surely Armstrong’s foremost chronicler, mines the copious primary sources in order to flesh out the often turbulent details of Armstrong’s personal life ... a pricelessly detailed look at crucial periods in Armstrong’s life.
Drawing on interviews, oral histories, and archival sources from the Louis Armstrong House Museum, where he is Director of Research Collections, Riccardi creates a vibrant portrait of Armstrong (1901-1971) focused on his career from 1929 to 1947, when he had a decisive impact on both jazz and popular music ... Riccardi details Armstrong’s relationships with his many agents and wives; his recordings, movie appearances, and performances throughout the U.S. (in 1931, on a Southern tour, he hired a bodyguard) and, beginning with a much-anticipated appearance in London in 1932, throughout Europe ... Riccardi, whose previous book covered Armstrong’s later years, brings the same erudition and enthusiasm to his latest. An appreciative, deeply informed biography.