Since 1971, July 6 is always a mournful date for me, since Louis Armstrong departed this temporal neighborhood (“made the transition,” “passed into Spirit,” or what you will) on that day.
Because of the beautiful post Ricky Riccardi wrote about the last music Louis listened to before he died (here) I was ready to write about an emotional vortex that hit me hard.
On the last tape Louis made for himself, he led off with SATCHMO IN STYLE, the life-enhancing music he and Gordon Jenkins made from 1949-52). That’s important to me, because eight of those performances are the music that made me absolutely devoted to Louis — this is more than a half-century ago.
But then I thought of the tradition where you rejoice at the funeral, and that Louis would not have wanted us to weep, but to hear good music with a strong lead and wonderful melodies. I think he would also have approved of seeing buoyant young swing dancers move around, for this was the way (in a backwards fashion) that he fell in love with Lucille Wilson, his fourth wife.
So here we are, rhythm and miracles conjoined, which is also appropriate.
I GOT RHYTHM:
I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES (with the verse and at a gorgeous tempo):
These videos come to us through the generosity of the musicians and dancers, but also because of videographer Laura Beth Wyman of Wyman Video, who did a splendid job in capturing that most difficult situation: a room full of dancers with musicians playing for them. The musicians! James Dapogny, piano; Mike Jones, clarinet; Roderick McDonald, guitar; Joe Fee, string bass. This performance took place during the properly named Plenty Rhythm Weekend. Filmed at Gretchen’s House, Ann Arbor, Michigan, on December 5, 2015. For more rhythmic miracles, visit here.
Good enough for Louis. Good enough for us.
May your happiness increase!