Airdate – Dec 16, 2018
The Holiday Season is now upon us … so let’s go back to the fall of 1953 and listen to a Christmas tune that was not mainstream at the time.
The performer of this song was an American trumpeter, composer, singer and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz.
His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall Of Fame.
He had an instantly recognizable gravelly voice, with great ability to improvise and bend the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes.
He was also very skilled at scat singing and was renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice, almost as much as for his trumpet playing.
He was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to “crossover” – that is, whose skin color became secondary to his music in an America that was extremely racially divided at the time.
By the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as having had a profound influence on popular music in general.
Some of his “crossover” compositions that we readily associate him with were “Hello, Dolly!,” “Mame,” and “What A Wonderful World.”
Known by “Satchmo” or just “Satch,” Louis Armstrong remains remembered by all.
And here he is in 1953, with a group of studio musicians known as the Commanders, reflecting upon that age-old question kids ask on Christmas Eve when they hear a noise while trying to settle down in their beds – “’Zat You, Santa Claus?,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song: