Essay on Comparing Louis Armstrong and Etta James

Essay on Comparing Louis Armstrong and Etta James

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In this investigation, I will attempt to compare two of the most famous and influential Jazz artists of all time, Louis Armstrong, and Etta James’ personal lives with regards to finding music, their stylistic similarities and I will also compare four of their most famous tracks. In the case of Armstrong, this track is ‘What a wonderful world’, and ‘We have all the time in the world’ and for Etta James I will analyse and compare ‘At Last’, and ‘I’ve been loving you too long’.

Louis Armstrong was born on August 4th 1901 in New Orleans. Armstrong spent his childhood in poverty, living with his family in an area of New Orleans known as the Uptown district. As a direct result of his families poverty, young Louis did not enjoy many of the finer things in life that others of his age living elsewhere in the US did. at a young age, Armstrong was taken in by what Armstrong called his “Second family”. Armstrong developed a strong passion for music and began taking cornet lessons as a young child. Armstrong continued to develop his performance on the cornet and began playing in local brass bands. In the years that followed, Louis’ musicality slowly began grow. One of Armstrong’s most reconcilable hits, is ‘What a wonderful world’, written by Bob Thiele. The song itself has a relatively short in length, running only 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

The song is written in ternary form, with the melody played by an acoustic guitar and strings. The first melodic idea begins the song before a development passage which leads to the return of the orignal melodic idea which plays out to the end of the song.

The instrumentation of the song is typical of jazz tracks of this period, involving an acoustic guitar, strings, brass and obviously Armstrong’s v...


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...l than the other. Both artists have gained many hits throughout their careers, and what can be said, is that without the presence of either Armstrong or James, jazz as a genre may not have grown to have such a large following as it does today, and the same can be applied to modern music today, as many of the popular artists in the charts today have been heavily influenced by Jazz and the work of Louis Armstrong and Etta James for that matter. Taking all that has been said in to account, it is most likely universally agreed upon by fans of both Jazz and popular music, that it may not be where it is today without Armstrong and James’ influence, and the same can be said with regards to the music of the future in the sense that the work left behind by Armstrong and James, will go a long way to influencing the artists of the future, and indeed the music that they create.

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