Musicians onstage at Smalls jazz club (183 West Tenth Street, Greenwich Village, New York City) perform in front of a large poster of Louis Armstrong, smiling, fashionably decked out in his new London togs, circa 1932.
It wasn’t my imagination — you can see for yourself — Louis was smiling even more blindingly for the first two sets of April 5, 2012, when trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso and pianist Ehud Asherie — deep musical friends — created one delightful improvisation after another. (Echoes of Louis and Earl Hines!) And seated near me was portrait photographer Lorna Sass, who has generously shared two portraits with JAZZ LIVES.
Jon-Erik and Louis. Photograph by Lorna Sass. Copyright 2012
Here’s the first set.
The Rodgers and Hart THOU SWELL — for Bix or just for fun:
Something very sweet and heartfelt, by Sissle and Blake — LOVE WILL FIND A WAY:
Did you see a bunny? It’s our pal COTTON TAIL:
THANKS A MILLION (for Louis — and only Jon-Erik plays the sweet verse):
More Sissle and Blake! A romping I’M JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY:
James P. asks one of the few questions really worth asking: AIN’T CHA GOT MUSIC?
Ehud Asherie -- both of him -- at the piano. Photograph by Lorna Sass. Copyright 2012
Something for and from Tom Waller: UP JUMPED YOU WITH LOVE:
Did you go shopping? I FOUND A NEW BABY:
Another delicacy from Louis — IF WE NEVER MEET AGAIN:
Let’s swing a while with SWEET SUE:
You knew CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. But I’ll bet your fourth-grade history teacher never taught that C.C. “used the rhythm as a compass”:
I was smiling broadly, too. You can see and hear why, can’t you?
May your happiness increase.