What could be simpler? The fine Louis Armstrong scholar Ricky Riccardi given room to stretch out at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem during January 2012. (The Museum is located at 104 E. 126th Street • Suite 2D • New York, New York 10035.)
Here’s Ricky’s sketch of his presentations at the Museum — and one where he’ll be joined by “the All-Stars,” David Ostwald, Dan Morgenstern, and George Avakian:
January 3 – 7 p.m. Birth of the All Stars 1947-1953
On this night, I’ll chart the birth of the All Stars, covering Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall, Edmond Hall, Earl Hines, the early Decca pop hits, Louis as King of the Zulus, the bop wars and a lot more.
January 7 – 12-4 p.m. Ricky Riccardi and The All Stars
This is the one you don’t want to miss as I’ll be leading a panel comprised of David Ostwald, Dan Morgenstern and George Avakian (aka The All Stars) to talk about the last 25 years of Louis’s life: seeing Louis live, visiting with him at home, working with him in the studio, dealing with Joe Glaser, Louis the civil rights pioneers, myths about the All Stars, you name it. I’ll have my trusty iPod and a bunch of DVDs so anything that comes up (or is requested) will also be played.
January 10 – 7 p.m. Louis on film
This event will take place at The Maysles Institute (343 Malcolm X Blvd / Lenox Ave, between 127th and 128 streets). After I started my Armstrong blog in 2007, I became something of a repository for rare Armstrong footage, with collectors around the world sending me DVDs of Louis on TV and in performance. I’ll be screening some of my favorite gems this evening, spanning 1950 to 1971.
January 17 – 7 p.m. Ambassador Satch 1954-1957
Back to my chronological exploration of the All Stars, this was a very thick period so I’m going to take my time, discussing the “W. C. Handy” and “Satch Plays Fats” albums, the “Ambassador Satch” tour, the Edmond Hall edition of the All Stars, projects like “Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography” and “Porgy and Bess” and Louis’s offstage stances on Little Rock and his refusal to go back to New Orleans.
January 24 – 7 p.m. Hello, Dolly! – 1958-1964
Continuing the journey, I’ll deal with Louis’s massive European 1959 tour (I’ll show some footage, too) and heart attack in Spoleto that same year. I’ll also focus on the many great projects that Louis embarked on in the early 60s with Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and the Dukes of Dixieland. This evening will culminate with the recording of “Hello, Dolly” that put Louis back on top.
January 31 – 7 p.m. What a Wonderful World – 1965-1971
The final evening will close the story, opening with Louis’s triumphant tour of the Iron Curtain in 1965 and following that with his gradual decline as his health–and chops–began to fade. I’ll have plenty of rare audio and video this evening, going right up to last year of Louis’s life.
If you can’t get to the museum, you can visit Ricky’s blog here
Or you can investigate his thoroughly entertaining book here
Every month is Louis Armstrong Month, but let’s (in the words of Irving Berlin) start the New Year right!