“Louis Armstrong at the Typewriter,” by Dennis Stock. Gelatin Silver Print
Louis, who gave Stock extraordinary access,
both on the road and at his home in Queens
(he called it the Citadel),
seems here to be entirely unaware
of the photographer, who would have been
kneeling or squatting by the musician’s desk.
Bandmates remember Louis typing on the bus.
In another photo from the Jazz Street sequence
he is in a hotel bed, reading glasses on,
reviewing pages of typescript.
Here he wears the handkerchief knotted to his head,
and is staring at the keyboard as if trying to see
straight through to where the sentence will end.
Stock’s intention is clear: he wanted it understood
that Louis played a second instrument.
Benjamin Goluboff teaches at Lake Forest College. He is the author of Ho Chi Minh: A Speculative Life in Verse and Biking Englewood: An Essay on the White Gaze, both from Urban Farmhouse Press. Some of his work can be read at https://www.lakeforest.edu/academics/faculty/goluboff/.
Art: “Goldmine” by Sandy Coomer - 6X6, acrylic pour on claybord
Statement: This is the blending of both “instruments” - the trumpet and the typewriter, both of which speak a powerful language we all need to hear. I can see the gold tones rising.