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, my home base these days. In addition to having tours all day on Sunday, they'll be featuring a live performance by vocalist Gwyn Jay All whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Armstrong Archives the other day. Allen is a true Pops worshipper who will be performing self-penned tribute songs to Louis, as well as unique takes on Armstrong classics such as "Someday" and "Now You Has Jazz." And it's always a good time when visiting the Armstrong House, as can be seen in this neat little piece produced by WNYC and featuring Assistant Director Deslyn Dyer. Click here for this virtual tour of casa de Pops.
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 last year at this time and it's still up. Here it is again:
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!