Tackling the life of one of the most beloved jazz players, Terry Teachout memorializes Louis Armstrong in his biography “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong,” published by Houghton Mifflin. Born a poor black boy on the streets of New Orleans, Armstrong flew to the top, sending waves through the jazz world and becoming hugely popular, a status critics deplored. “Maybe we need a half-century’s distance to see this gifted man without the filter of politics, to regard his grin not as an accommodation to the white world but as the distillation of his soul,” suggests the Washington Post. Teachout argues that Armstrong was not only a brilliant musician, but that his cheery grin, which irked purists, was not a mask. “Teachout shares anecdote after anecdote to demonstrate that Armstrong’s onstage jolly demeanor was no act. Armstrong loved his life in music and found a path to celebrate most people he met,” writes the Seattle Times. With eloquence and a deep appreciation of Armstrong’s achievement, Teachout fills the text with Armstrong’s vibrancy and reminds the audience of his indelible talent and joy in his music.