Louis Armstrong was in the habit of traveling with a reel-to-reel tape deck when on his endless tours. Although he seemed to prefer Guy Lombardo recordings to lull himself to sleep at night, his tape collection constituted a remarkably varied playlist. According to Terry Teachout’s biography Pops, it included:
“Walter Gieseking playing Debussy, Helen Traubel singing the “Liebestod”, Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and Shostakovich’s First Symphony, the original-cast albums of The King and I and South Pacific, recordings of Julius Caesar and Don Juan in Hell, and jazz and pop in profusion: Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berrigan, Bing Crosby, Fats Waller, Bert Williams, and a surprising amount of modern jazz, including albums by Stan Kenton, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, and George Shearing.”
Would you have thought Armstrong’s listening would be that wide-ranging?