Tag Archives: Louis Armstrong’s birthday

HERE’S THE BEAUTIFUL PART: CELEBRATING KING LOUIS (2013, 2014, 2015)

KING LOUIS

Take your pick.  Would you like to celebrate Louis Armstrong’s birthday as if it had been July 4, 1900 (what he and perhaps his mother believed it to be), July 4, 1901 (where Ricky Riccardi and I think the evidence points), or August 4, 1901 (what’s written in the baptismal record)?  I don’t think the debate is as important as the music.

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And to show that LOUIS LIVES, I offer three examples of musicians evoking him with great warmth and success in this century.  Louis isn’t a historical figure; he animates our hearts today, and tomorrow, and . . .

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Folks down there live a life of ease.  WHEN IT’S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH (San Diego Jazz Fest, November 29, 2014: Connie Jones, cornet; Tim Laughlin, clarinet; Doug Finke, trombone; Jim Buchmann, Dave Bennett, clarinet; Chris Dawson, piano; Katie Cavera, rhythm guitar; Marty Eggers, string bass; Hal Smith, drums):

Cold empty bed.  BLACK AND  BLUE (Fraunces Tavern, July 25, 2015: Mike Davis, cornet; Craig Ventresco, guitar; Rob Adkins, string bass):

Does he strut like a king?  HE’S A SON OF THE SOUTH (Jazz Bash by the Bay, March 2013: Marc Caparone, cornet and vocal; Clint Baker, clarinet; David Boeddinghaus, piano; John Reynolds, guitar; Katie Cavera, string bass; Ralf Reynolds, washboard):

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Yes, Louis made the transition into spirit in 1971.  But his spirit is very much alive.

May your happiness increase!

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A NICE BIG PIECE OF BIRTHDAY CAKE (July 4, 2009)

News, always welcome, from the Louis Armstrong House Museum.  I know that July 4, 1900, has been disproven as Louis’s actual birthdate — in some inspired, diligent sleuthing — but I don’t particularly care.  Louis thought it was his birthday, and that’s always been enough reason for me to celebrate, especially since I am past the age of getting excited as cherry bombs and M-14s turn the night air into Armageddon.

First, the famous picture: Louis with the kids.  Our eyes are drawn, of course, to the fellow on the right with his plastic trumpet, following the Master’s lead.  But I am intrigued by the child in the center, who doesn’t have a trumpet (it seems unfortunate that there weren’t dozens to go around, so that Louis could have had his own Corona Brass Band of kids in the street) — notice how earnestly he’s practicing his embouchure until the day that he can get a horn and swing out.  I hope he did.  His eyes gleam as brightly as Louis’s do — a good sign. 

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There will be many events celebrating Louis’s life and music (as if the two could be separated) courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens.  You haven’t been there yet?  Chaucer’s pilgrims had Canterbury: the LAHM is easier to get to and I am sure it’s more fun.  There will be a scat-singing lesson, a concert by the Red Hook Ramblers, a presentation on Louis’s collages by the esteemed Deslyn Dyer, a tour of the house (don’t forget to admire the turquoise kitchen!). 

AND there’s cake.  We won’t be there, but cake freezes very well.

Here’s the link to the schedule: https://webmail.optimum.net/attach/LAHM%20July%204%20Events%20Listing.doc?sid=&mbox=INBOX&charset=escaped_unicode&uid=20333&number=4&filename=LAHM%20July%204%20Events%20Listing.doc

Happy Birthday in advance to Mr. Strong!