Sunday, June 14, 2009

Louis Armstrong Birthday Fete

We are honored, flattered, and utterly ecstatic to be invited to come back to the Louis Armstrong House Museum to swing nothing less than his 108th birthday celebration this July 4th, at 1PM! The concert is in Satch's very own lush Japanese garden under giant shady trees in the modest, snug locality of Corona, Queens. The place is so comfortable, it's easy to see why Pops felt at home here from the early '40s to his last day, July 6, 1971. His warm, ingratiating soul is still very much present in the home. When you take a tour, they play hilarious recordings of him telling stories there. What's most remarkable is that Pops didn't want to live in a huge mansion or an exclusive penthouse - he wanted to kick his road-weary feet up in a suburban neighborhood and chat with the local barber and kids. He loved it dearly. That's the kind of man he was. As Duke Ellington said of him, he was the only person he knew to go from the absolute bottom of society of the top without hurting anyone.

When we played at the house last summer, we got to meet one of Satch's neighbors, who had assisted him on the road for a couple of tours in the '50s. She was delighted to hear his old songs again - "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," "Muskrat Ramble," etc., and she told us some great memories of her "Pops." Louis Armstrong was a blessed soul and remains the Patron Saint of Jazz. Playing his music at his home for his old friends and fans was like having him playing right there with us - you can't get any closer! We're looking forward to jammin' with Pops again. Hope to see you there.

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