Jazz for Dabblers is all about helping you amaze and astound your pals with your jazz knowledge. It's a roundup of some of the fun and/or oddball little stories behind the great music of jazz. In this instalment, the vices of legendary jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong.
Yep, Louis loved to smoke weed and take a laxative called Swiss Kriss. His vices were a bit contradictory and here's why:
Armstrong began smoking pot in the 1920s and was even arrested for "a dope weed used in cigarettes" in 1930. He was sentenced to six months in jail but fortunately for him the sentence was suspended. Armstrong reportedly smoked "dope weed" on a daily basis and went so far as to write a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower, advocating marijuana and asking that it be legalized.
At the peak of his career, Armstrong was also at the peak of his weight. Like many people, he worried about his appearance and would diet constantly. But he also loved to eat. And marijuana can trigger cravings for food. To combat his weight issues, Armstrong turned to Swiss Kriss, a natural laxative he swore by. He even endorsed Swiss Kriss without compensation by printing a novelty card he would give to fans. The photo on the card appeared as a keyhole, through which Armstrong could be seen sitting on the toilet.
Do you have any odd, funny, or otherwise entertaining jazz trivia you think would be good fodder for Jazz for Dabblers? Let us know, in the comments below.
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on Aug 17, 2012