When a Good Old Good Note Is Blown, All the Cats Dig It

Louis Armstrong? Apocryphal?

armstrong08Dear Quote Investigator: The renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong believed in the universality of musical appeal. I think he once said:

When a good note’s blown, all the cats dig it.

The underlying challenge of this adage is to remain open to the appreciation of multiple musical styles and genres. I have relayed this perceptive quotation to others for many years, but I have not been able to find a solid citation. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: In 1965 U.S. Senator Jacob K. Javits placed into the “Congressional Record” an article dated March 23, 1965 from the “San Francisco Chronicle”. The newspaper discussed Louis Armstrong’s well-received visit to the country of East Germany, and the title used his nickname: “‘Satchmo’ Takes Another Country”. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

. . . he has affected audiences of various races and tongues and creeds for a half century—again proving his contention that regardless of the language or political beliefs, “notes are all the same, everywhere” and “when a good old good note is blown, all the cats dig it.”

The wording differed slightly from the version given by the questioner. The word “good” was used twice. Also, the context indicated that the saying had been used by Armstrong at some time in the past; hence, an earlier citation probably exists, but this was the earliest close match located by QI.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading When a Good Old Good Note Is Blown, All the Cats Dig It


  1. 1965, Congressional Record, U.S. Senate, Eighty-Ninth Congress, First Session, Volume 3, Part 6, April 7, 1965, (Senator Jacob K. Javits placed a reprint of newspaper article into the Congressional Record: Editorial titled “‘Satchmo’ Takes Another Country” from the “San Francisco Chronicle” of March 23, 1965), Quote Page 7278, Column 1, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. (HathiTrust) link link