The photograph on the right was taken more than a half-century ago, in the Columbia studios, where Louis Armstrong was recording a tribute to W.C. Handy. The fellow on the right is our subject today: record producer and jazz scholar George Avakian. He’s made wonderful recordings with everyone from Louis to Duke to Johnny Mathis t0 Buck Clayton to Miles Davis to Eddie Condon to Jimmy Rushing and on and on . . . .
And, for those of us with long memories, there were the CHICAGO JAZZ sessions for Decca — a mere seventy years ago.
George is turning ninety! And we will be among the happy, grateful people celebrating this at Birdland next Wednesday, March 18.
But it’s not simply a matter of cake and soda in paper cups. Nay nay.
David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band will be on the stand from 5:30 to 8 PM (a longer stretch than usual) — David on tuba, Randy Sandke on trumpet, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, Anat Cohen on clarinet, Mark Shane on piano, and Kevin Dorn on drums. I would be very surprised if some friends of the band — and of George — didn’t come by and sit in.
For reservations at Birdland, the place David calls “New York’s friendliest jazz club,” 315 West 44th Street, call 212-581-3080.