Friday, March 20, 2009

George Avakian's 90th Birthday Party At Birdland

It's been a very busy week for me as I'm getting close to the finish line of my Armstrong book, meaning I had to put the blog on the back burner. But I did make it out to Birdland on Wednesday for the wonderful occasion of celebrating George Avakian's 90th birthday (!) at Birdland where David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong Centennial Band (aka The Gully Low Jazz Band) delivered a super-charged, beautifully swinging performance. But because I'm perpetually on the go these days I'm going to quit while I'm ahead and direct you to Michael Steinman's "Jazz Lives" blog. Michael was there, too, and he wrote a great blog on the event, complete with videos. Run, don't walk (or at least move your hand to mouse quicker than usual) and click here to dig it in it's entirety ("The famous...Ricky Riccardi"? My mother is going to be so proud!).

Thanks, Michael...and thank you George for EVERYTHING! It's was George's recordings of Pops in the 1950s that completely changed my life when I checked out a copy of a Columbia Armstrong compilation, 16 Most Requested Songs, way back as a high school kid in 1995. Thus, Armstrong's music and George's production/liner notes really are what led me here today. Thanks, George and here's to many more!

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