Two Biographies by Larry Tye: THE JAZZMEN & DEMAGOGUE

Larry Tye tells us about his new book, The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America. It’s a fresh look at three titans of the Jazz Age. Then, we re-air our 2020 interview with Larry Tye about his biography of Senator Joe McCarthy, Demagogue.

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Key words: Jazz Age, Larry Tye, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Satchmo, Duke Ellington, author interview, book podcast, podcast

Titans of The Jazz Age

Among the greatest jazz musicians of all time were Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie. These titans of jazz, born within a few years of each other, rose from the depths of racial adversity to become global icons of music.

Today, we talk with biographer Larry Tye, bestselling author of Satchel and Bobby Kennedy, about his new book, The Jazzmen. It paints a sweeping portrait of this triumvirate of the Jazz Age, men who not only entertained the world but also broke through the barriers of segregation and violence with their artistry.

Ellington, a grandson of slaves, rose above the confines of his time, crafting music that defied categorization. Armstrong, emerging from a rough New Orleans neighborhood known as The Battlefield, began his musical journey with a humble tin horn at the age of seven. Count Basie, born to a coachman and a laundress, saw his future in the sounds of a traveling carnival, eventually paving his way to fame with a little help from Fats Waller.

Their legacy of challenging and overcoming racial boundaries opened America’s eyes to the power of their art, and, in some ways, set the stage for the civil rights movement.

Listen to an excerpt from The Jazz Men.

About The Author

Larry Tye is the author of numerous books, including biographies of Bobby Kennedy and Senator Joe McCarthy. Listen to our interviews with him about those books.