James L. Dickerson has written an intimate biography of Lil Hardin Armstrong. For those new to her role in the early years of American jazz, she is one of the first major black women to appear in jazz, and her contributions are as important as those of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
Lillian Hardin (1898 - 1971) became famous as a songwriter, pianist, and arranger. Married to Louis Armstrong in 1924, she promoted his solo career. After divorcing Louis in 1938, she went on to establish her own highly successful solo career.
Lil Hardin Armstrong was a remarkable woman. Among her many achievements was the creation of the first all-female jazz band in the United States during 1931. She earned college degrees from Chicago Musical College and the New York College of Music. Although she composed many songs, she is best remembered for "Struttin" With Some Barbecue," "Just For A Thrill," "Perdido Street Blues," "Sweet Lips," "Too Tight Blues," "My Sweet Lovin" Man," "I Can"t Say," "Born To Swing," "Lindy Hop," "Happy Today, Sad Tomorrow," "Once in a While," "King of the Zulus," and "My Secret Flame." Many singers recorded her songs, among them Willie Nelson, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles. Lil Hardin Armstrong died of a heart attack while performing during a musical tribute to Louis Armstrong in 1971.
The photograph section and the listings give added interest to an already fascinating story. This is the biography of a woman who did remarkable things during remarkable times.
Highly recommended reading for those interested in the founding women of jazz in the United States. Well-written, this is an enjoyable nonfiction reading experience.An intimate, indepth look at Lil Hardin Armstrong, the First Lady of Jazz, and her role in the early formative years of jazz in America! Entertaining reading!