Hey everyone. It's July 4 weekend and that's a good time to be a Louis Armstrong fan (when isn't it?). Though he was later found out to be born on August 4, 1901, Armstrong spent his entire life believing he was born on July 4, 1900. Thus, for many Pops fanatics, Louis Armstrong and July 4 will always be linked together (and besides, we celebrate the August 4 one, too...the more the merrier!). If you're in the NY area, you'll have a ball by celebrating the fourth at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens (see their link to the left. They're having tours all day, a scat-singing lesson, a book reading from Muriel Harris Weinstein's children's book "When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat," concert by the Red Hook Ramblers and even birthday take. The House's assistant director Deslyn Dyer (featured in yesterday's New York Daily News) will also be giving a talk on the Museum's latest exhibit on Armstrong's collages. Not to be missed.
If you prefer to stay home, make sure your radio is tuned to WKCR of Columbia University, offering their annual Louis Armstrong Birthday Broadcast. If the radio doesn't work, keep a computer nearby and go to www.wkcr.org to stream the audio live.
And as my good friend Al Basile pointed out to me last year, Louis Armstrong died on July 6, 1971 so ideally, a "birth to the death" marathon of Armstrong from the fourth through the sixth is perhaps the best way to pay tribute to Mr. Strong. And speaking of the great man's death, NBC's coverage of that fateful day actually appeared on YouTube yesterday. As long as it's not removed, give it a viewing:
And don't forget to listen to Louis and Earl Hines explode on 1928's "Fireworks"!
Have a happy fourth...and happy birthday (number one) to Pops!