"You are the music while the music lasts." -Eliot
"Musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them." -Armstrong
While these two men lived vastly different lives, both quotes offer a similar worldview towards music and the arts, in general.
McCreless began by stating that these quotes are related: they both speak of music as it is related to our lives – without music, we would be no more, as it is a part of us, deeply. Also, while Louis Armstrong and T.S. Eliot had extremely different upbringings, they had similarities, themselves. First, both were connected by the Mississippi River. Armstrong worked on a boat along the Mississippi and Eliot is quoted as being affected by his upbringing along the river in St. Louis. Both men moved east, experienced Europe in some way, and became successful & wealthy.
Even among these similarities, the work of these two men exhibits a divide between classical and popular art. Eliot was a member of the high-intellect literary world; Armstrong, a performer of commercial jazz music in various nightclubs and venues. Because the two quotes are so similar, however, something must have linked this divide between the two approaches. How are the two ideas reconciled?
In my opinion, the reconciliation arises in the fact that excellence can be achieved in a variety of ways; these two men lived out their excellence within their own artforms. They specialized in something and made it their own. As I try to master my own artform & continue on the path towards excellence, I'm reminded by Armstrong and Eliot that every individual can reach the same conclusion while on their own unique path.