Monday, June 01, 2009

Louis Armstrong’s canon more important than Dylan’s?

Thanks to Matthew Zuckerman:

“As much as I value Dylan's art, I think many would argue otherwise, and with powerful ammunition. Arguments could surely be made for Louis Armstrong's 'canon' being the most important in 20th century music.

“I would argue, come to that, that Armstrong's musical influence is pervasive in every strand of music -- jazz, blues, pop, classical, gospel, r&b, rock, country and most facets of world music -- and that he may be the most important musical figure since JS Bach.

“Bob may just be the key jazz musican to follow in the wake of Armstrong (as opposed to Parker, who is generally mentioned in that regard) but that's another story.”

> Editor Kevin Dettmar¹s Introduction is a wide-ranging survey of the field of
> DylanLit. But, even here, I found myself challenging basic premises: according
> to Dettmar, ³Dylan¹s is arguably the most important canon in all of twentieth
> century American popular music².
> Arguably? Who would argue otherwise? Dettmar could safely delete ³arguably²,
> ³American² and ³popular² and his assessment might still undervalue Dylan¹s
> art. And the Editor¹s depiction of Dylan¹s voice as ³unlovely², the voice of a
> ³crow², rather than a nightingale, also raises questions.