Daily Archives: January 16, 2014

TWO HOURS WITH LOUIS (Berkeley Jazzschool, February 9, 2014)


I hope someone reads my title and says, “Wait.  Only two hours with Louis? Is that all?”

Louis is with us all the time if we have our ears and hearts open.  I consider myself very fortunate to be able to spread the word by playing his music, showing a few film clips, talking about the man, his art, and what truths he embodied.

I am offering a two-hour workshop at the Berkeley Jazzschool — which I have called LOUIS ARMSTRONG SPEAKS TO US — on Sunday, February 9, 2014, from 2-4 PM.  Here’s how I have introduced it:

Miles Davis famously said, “You can’t play anything on a trumpet that Louis hasn’t already played.” To this day, Louis Armstrong stands as the model of melodic improvisation, of a respect for melody, an irresistible swing, a wise use of space. He can teach anyone who wishes to perform in public a joyous, heartfelt relationship to an audience, transforming the simplest melodic line, and constructing solos that are surprising yet logical. This workshop will offer music, videos and a lively discussion of Armstrong’s performances, early and late. Even for those fortunate enough to already love Louis, there will be some surprises! Michael Steinman runs a thriving jazz video blog, Jazz Lives, and has written reviews for Cadence, Jazz Journal and liner notes for several record labels. He is also a Professor of English at Nassau Community College, New York.

I would love to meet some of my people — my JAZZ LIVES peeps, as I call them — that afternoon.  Louis will be in the house, as will the Beloved, but there is room for you too.  And if you’re not SMILING by the end of the afternoon, then I will issue you an official JAZZ LIVES GIFT CERTIFICATE redeemable for JOY UNCONFINED:

Here are the details.  The Jazzschool is located at 2087 Addison Street in Berkeley, California 94704 | 510.845.5373.  A ticket to the workshop is $30 in advance, $45 on the day of the workshop.

Here’s some music.

I will be giving another workshop, on Sunday, April 6, from 11:30 to 1:30 — my chosen topic being PRE-BIRD: SWING FEELING THEN AND NOW.  Details here.

May your happiness increase!


The eBay seller calls this an “ATTIC FINDING.” I am ten years away from having an attic, and mine never held such delights, but I am thrilled that someone’s attic yielded such a wonderful piece of paper.


Explication du texte: John, Don, and Larry went to the Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Avenue in New York City and heard the Benny Goodman Orchestra — and one or all of them got the autographs of the masters, Gene Krupa and Teddy Wilson.  Lucky fellows.

“Swing It” indeed.

May your happiness increase!