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From Far and Wide

Guitarist Tomas Janzon Basks in Bassists

By Published: January 6, 2013
In the period before his enormous popularity in the 1950s, his face was seen on one record jacket—Lights Out, circa 1936. He was highly visible in the media and in theaters, at concerts and dances in America and abroad. He was on the radio—even had his own program—and stole the show in films.

But there's no picture on sheet music. A commenter on the Jazz Friends blog, who raised the question, does not see this as a racial issue. "Other African-Americans got their bands or their pictures on sheet music," he pointed out, adding: "The only hypothesis I can invent is that his managers, [Johnny] Collins and then [Joe] Glaser, wanted too much money for Our Hero's visage to be Visible."

Giveaway hint: In an audience at the Vatican, he called the Pope "Pops."

Asked to comment, Dan Morgenstern, retired director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, said "These things were controlled by music publishers, not artist's agents, and nobody would have asked for a fee—it was, after all, free publicity—nor did Glaser handle Louis until mid-1935." Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
was abroad from mid- 1933 until early 1935, Morgenstern said in an email, adding: "'Sleepy Time' was not exactly a great hit, aside from Louis' keeping it alive; if rights had been owned by Mills Music, for example, it would have been seen more."


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