There are the great artists — such as Louis Armstrong — without whom our lives would be incomplete.  But there are other great artists who make so much possible.  They don’t play or sing.  And they are always loved by the people in the know — but they aren’t always brought to the forefront, aren’t always celebrated for their remarkable imaginations, ingenuity, and love.

One such man is George Avakian, now 95, who has done so much for jazz since 1939 or 1940 up to the present day.

Here he is, in an hour-long interview / conversation with two younger saints of the music, Ricky Riccardi and David Ostwald, at the 2013 Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans.  Towards the end of the interview, the 94-year-old Avakian listens to audio of a conversation he had with Armstrong in 1956, resulting in a beautiful moment and a magnificent standing ovation:

We are grateful than people like Mister Avakian exist.  He has increased our happiness in so many ways. And JAZZ LIVES readers know how much we owe to Young(er) Masters Riccardi and Ostwald. For more information on George Avakian, see here.

May your happiness increase!


  1. dear michael, I met mr. avakian several times @ the armstrong house and njmh .what a gentleman- and he told some great stories. I did not realize his age because he was was relatively youthful at the time

  2. Mick Carlon

    Dear Michael: I was there! It was a very emotional talk. And on Friday night I had the honor of being with Mr. Avakian as we watched Wycliffe Gordon’s band play a GLORIOUS set. It was definitely a “pinch me, I’m dreaming” moment! Yours in Pops, Mick

  3. great to hear these tapes.

    George Avakian demonstrates that virtue can co-habit with longevity.

  4. Thank you all three of you for your comments about a man who is very special to me…

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