them a new pattern. Armstrong wasnone such person.nCollier’s musicology, while not asnclinically precise as the benchmarknchapter on Armstrong in Gunther Schuller’snEarly Jazz (Oxford UniversitynPress; New York; 1968), is helpful innreaching enlightenment on the genius ofnhis inventiveness and the workings of hisnimagination. Collier occasionally createsnjust the right metaphor to explain annelement of Armstrong’s music-makingnprocess, as in these lines from thenauthor’s description of Armstrong’sn1924 solo on “Shanghai ShufQe” with thenFletcher Henderson band: “For the firstneight bars he plays just one note, repeatednsome two dozen times. He is notndesigning cathedrals here, he is drivingnin tent pegs.”nEqually perceptive and accuratenmusical analyses are found in the chaptersndevoted to evaluation of Armstrong’snrecorded work. But Collier’snprimary contribution to Armstrongnscholarship and to a general understandingnof the artist and the man comes fromnhis assessment of the effects on a buddingngenius of feimily, environment, andnsociety.nArmstrong’s personality, open butnunaggressive and dependent on powerfillnfether figures, developed in Jane Alleynand black Storyville. Those sectionsnwere dirty, poor, raw, and libertine in annearly 20th-century New Orleans notednfor permissiveness and for the abjectnessnof poverty among its poorest blacks.nPimping, prostitution, beatings, andnmurder—^as well as music—were in thenair that the young Armstrong breathed. Itnwas not the sanitized “Glory Alley” of thenmotion picture in which Armstrongnappeared 40 years later. Collier emphasizesnthis largely unrestrainednatmosphere as the background fornArmstrong’s “open expressiveness” as anperformer. His mother was lax butnwholly supportive. His father wasnabsent. To compensate, Armstrongnfi)und a tough, authoritarian fether figurenwho protected him, made decisions, andnprovided approval during each stage ofnhis development.nBut Armstrong’s most significant neednwas for applause. Collier makes the casenthat the brilliant trumpeter, virtually theninventor of true jazz improvisation,ndeteriorated from his peak artistic formnof the late 1920’s largely because of thatnneed. As a singer and a showman, Armstrongnwas enormously popular withnmasses who could not have been lessnconcerned with the purity of his art.nIndeed, in a theme Collier developsnthroughout the book, it is clear thatnArmstrong thought of himself not as annartist but as an entertainer who playednthe trumpet, sang, “and did a fiiir amountnof comedy.” It never entered his mindnthat he had sold out to commercialism,nas purists maintain to this day, but that henwas providing what his audiences demanded—simplyndoing his job.nThe attitude was typical of his generationnof jazzmen and of the tradition, untilnthe advent of bebop, of jazz as entertainment.nPianist Earl Hines often said that henconsidered himself first and foremost annentertainer. This was the Earl Hines whoncollaborated with Armstrong in then1920’s on recordings that set newnartistic standards and transfigurednAmerican music. Yet Armstrong andnHines thought of themselves not asnkeepers of the flame, but as audiencenpleasers. Contrast their self-assessmentsnnnwith the view two generations later ofnCharlie Parker, perhaps the only jazznsoloist other than Lester Young whosenachievements approach Armstrong’s:nMusic is your own experience, yournthoughts, your wisdom. If you don’tnlive it, it won’t come out of your horn.nThey teach you there’s a boundarynline to music. But, man, there’s nonboundary line to art.nArmstrong discovered early in hisncareer that rooms full of people respondedneagerly to his singing andnclowning. In Collier’s words, “thenbenefit to Armstrong was to be immense,nbut the loss to jazz was incalculable.” Thengain to jazz had also been immense, asnCollier recognizes, and he speculates fornthe reader what the music might havenbecome withQut Armstrong. But he failsnto define it, despite a mighty effortnincorporating jazz genealogy and deductivenreasoning, concluding that:nIn the music of the twentieth century,nthe presence of Louis Armstrong isnsimply everywhere, inescapable as thenwind, blowing through the front door,nseeping in the windows, sliding downnthe chimney. He is a mountain in thenpath: you can go over him or aroundniiim, but you cannot avoid his effect.nIn tracking Armstrong’s career fromnplaying for the slow-drag dances ofnpimps and prostitutes in black Storyvillendives, to the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra,nto the glories of the Hot Fivesnand the discovery of pure improvisation,nCollier carefully melds musical andncultural factors. He recognizes thatnArmstrong’s special musical qualities—n”a razor sharp attack, a broad terminalnvibrato, a rich tone”—were simplynamong the means of expressing whatnArmstrong had developed by 1922, “thatnsine qua non of a great artist, an individualnvoice.” He likens the instantlynidentifiable character of Armstrong’snwork to that of Dickens, Faulkner, Titian,nand van Gogh. Collier’s analogies recall anpassage from Fred Robbins’s movingn^ ^ H 3 1nMay 1984n