As a child, Enrico (“Rico”) Tomasso was full of music, a young member of the family band, someone whose epiphany through Louis Armstrong was a life-changing experience — a lightning-stroke of joy.
He had the immense good fortune to play his trumpet for Louis when the great man visited Britain. Louis was enthralled by young Rico, and they remained dear friends.
When I first heard Rico at the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, I was moved to happy tears, and when I caught up with him later, I beamed at him and said, “The spirit of Louis shines through you,” words that pleased him.
A day ago Rico celebrated a birthday, but he is the kind of fellow who doesn’t stand with his hand out for his gift. Rather, he is a generous giver all the time — so here is his tribute to Louis and my tribute to both of them. It is a glorious evocation. Look carefully behind and to the right of Rico, and you will see Duke Heitger, who knows his Louis deeply, smiling and nodding while Rico plays and sings.
The ensemble behind our man is Menno Daams, Duke Heitger, Kristoffer Kompen, Lars Frank, Claus Jacobi, Matthias Seuffert, Keith Nichols, Spats Langham, Emma Fisk, Malcolm Sked, Richard Pite, and other luminaries, including Josh Duffee as entering master of ceremonies.
Happy birthday, dear Rico. Thank you for being born. We’re always in the market for you.
And Mister Tomasso will again be gracing the Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party in November 2015!
May your happiness increase!