Standing outside the Lincoln Gardens cabaret, listening to the jazz band inside, cornet player Louis Armstrong, just turned 21 and just arrived from New Orleans, is too intimidated to go inside.
Lincoln Gardens advertisement
The band leader, Joe “King” Oliver, 40, who he knew a bit from back home, had invited Louis by telegram to come and join his Creole Jazz Band. Oliver was supposed to meet him at the Illinois Central Station tonight. When the train was late, Oliver paid a porter to get Armstrong here in a taxi so he could sit in for some of the set.
Now Louis is hesitating. They sure sound good.
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band
Suddenly King Oliver comes out the door and shouts at Armstrong,
Come on IN HEAH you little dumb sumbitch. We’ve been waiting for your black ass all night.”
Armstrong goes in.
When the band is done, Oliver takes his new band member home with him, and his wife feeds him some familiar New Orleans food. Armstrong can’t believe it when Oliver takes him to a one-bedroom apartment—with a bathroom!—that they have arranged for him on Wabash Avenue. All this and $52 a week, too…
“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”: The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at email@example.com.
Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.
If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.