Armstrong’s openness was not limited to his fellow blacks. To be sure, he had no illusions about the racism of the society into which he had been born. A colleague once dropped in on him after a performance and asked what was new. “Nothin’ new,” he replied. “White folks still ahead.” Yet he never yielded to the temptation to treat white musicians as he had been treated by whites. He was devoid of personal prejudice, and the All Stars, the band he led from 1947 until his death in 1971, were integrated at a time when it was still uncommon for a working jazz group to be racially mixed—especially one whose leader was black. “Those people who make the restrictions, they don’t know nothing about music, it’s no crime for cats of any color to get together and blow,” he said.

Satchmo and the Jews.

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