Saturday, August 27, 2011

Listening to the Book: Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of my book, What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years, is mostly about the various personnel changes that took place in the All Stars during the rebuilding phase after the sudden departure of Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines and Arvell Shaw. With Russ Phillips replacing Teagarden, Joe Sullivan replacing Hines and Dale Jones replacing Shaw, the new edition of the All Stars performed a beautiful show at Kitsilano High School in Vancouver. Not beautiful from a strictly musical standpoint, though. For the show, Louis and some of the All Stars decided to sit in with the Kitsilano High jazz band! Needless to say, the group was strictly amateur but Louis treated them like the All Stars and the crowd screamed like they were the Beatles. Here's the opening song, "Shanghai," which I doubt Louis ever played before or after. He's listening hard, watching out for the odd key change and stuff, but he keeps the whole thing together and obviously gave the musicians an experience they never forgot.

Joe Sullivan was a legend but was also a drunk. He was a sloppy player, which could be heard in this version of "Back O'Town Blues" from Boise in late February 1952. Though it's a simple 12-bar-blues, Sullivan isn't listening and changes in all the wrong spots for the first half of the tune. Two nights later, he apparently fell off the piano bench in the middle of a performance and that was that. Here's "Back O'Town Blues":

Sullivan was immediately replaced by Marty Napoleon, still going strong at the age of 90! Marty didn't have Sullivan's hall-of-fame resume but his turbo-charged style made him, to my ears, the most exciting pianist the All Stars ever had. Here's his fantastic feature on "St. Louis Blues":

[NOTE: I originally posed "Limehouse Blues" instead of "St. Louis Blues," which some loyal readers pointed out. I never want to deprive anyone out of Marty, so here's "Limehouse," too!]

In this chapter, I also describe a terrific concert the All Stars did in May of that year in Louis's hometown of New Orleans. The entire concerts survives in great sound but has never been issued commercially. Here's a hot sample, an appropriate "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans":

It was also in this concert that Louis told his favorite "hamburger" joke, which I transcribed faithfully. Here's how it came out that day:

Skip ahead to the fall of 1952 now as Arvell Shaw returned to the group and Trummy Young replaced Russ Phillips on trombone. I have a lot of background on Trummy, including Louis's influence on his playing. That influence can be heard on this version of "Basin Street Blues" from Stockholm in October 1952, almost immediately after Young joined the band. The song had always been a feature for Teagarden so Louis threw it at Trummy, who responded with a charming performance full of Louis-isms:

The 1952 tour was a grueling one but God bless the Europeans for keeping their tape recorders on and catching so much of it. For proof that the All Stars changed things up more than they were given credit for, here's a breathtaking "On the Sunny Side of the Street" from September 1952, slow and steady and clocking in around seven minutes:

Just a few weeks later, here it is again in Italy, a faster, more swinging version to prove that not only did Louis pull from a large repertoire during this trip (which I'll prove again in another upcoming "Anatomy of an All Stars Show" post) but he could also approach songs in different ways depending on the mood of himself and/or his audience:

If you want to know more about these versions of "Sunny Side," here's a blog I did on the subject.

And finally, I could pull plenty of performances from this 1952 tour as there were plenty of great ones (and even some erratic ones as the never-ending pace--and Pops's rapid weight gain--sometimes strained the chops), but I'll quit now and leave with one of my all-time favorite Louis moments: a live-by-request version of "Pennies From Heaven" from Stockholm in 1952. I did an entire blog on this performance that can be found here. But if you just want to listen to it, click here:

Now if that doesn't brighten your day, nothing will. And I know that for many readers out there, there might be some dark days ahead courtesy of Hurricane Irene. I live in Toms River, NJ, right on the Jersey Shore, and though my town hasn't been asked to evacuate, we're fully prepped to be spending a few days in our basement, all stocked up with food and water. So may all my East Coast readers emerge safely in the next few days and as soon as I do the same, I'll be back with more great Pops.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Listening to the Book: Chapter 4

All right, good friends, after a few weeks of other business, it's time to get back to the soundtrack to my book, What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years. We're continuing onward with some of Louis's big Decca hits from the early 50s. The chapter begins with Louis chastising a disc-jockey for using the word "commercial" to describe his record of "I Laughed at Love." Louis claims there's "nothing that can outswing it" and he's right. During the Satchmo Summerfest, I talked about this incident and asked the crowd how many people knew of "I Laughed at Love." Only one person did so I played it and knocked everyone out. I did a blog on the tune, which can be found here. If you just want to listen to the song, here's the audio:

Next up, a famous session from 1950 that produced two French-themed numbers. First, "La Vie En Rose," which I commemorated in an anniversary blog last year that can be found here. Here's the audio for the original version:

I never did a blog on "C'est Si Bon," but it was another hit for Pops. In the book, I write about Louis's epic trumpet solo on the original recording and how it's so little known. Listen for yourself:

I've also somehow never written about "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." Until I right that wrong, here's the original:

And here's a hilarious duet done with Bing Crosby:

I did write a blogon "I Get Ideas" but here's the original if you're looking for it in a hurry:

Louis only made two songs with Louis Jordan but they're both astonishing. I wrote about in detail and shared the audio in a post that can be found here: Louie, Louie Blog

Every year on Valentine's Day, I share the audio and history of the song "That's For Me". If you're just looking for the audio, here it is, one of Louis's all-time great moments:

From that same session came the original "New Orleans Function." Here's the audio:

And here's a blog I did on Louis's history with that number:New Orleans Function Blog

January 1951 saw Decca record "Satchmo at Pasadena," which I blogged about here. That show is notable for having the first surviving All Stars performance of "Indiana." Louis's history with that song can be found in this blog.

Finally, the chapter ends with the furor over Louis singing the word "darkies" on "When It's Sleepy Time Down South." For the whole backstory, read the book, but for the recording, look no further:

The uproar forced Louis to go back in and substitute "people" for "darkies." The rest of the recording is the same, but the bridge is entirely new:

And that's that for chapter 4..thanks for listening along and especially thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Orleans Wrap-up (and other odds and ends)

I've been back from New Orleans for a few days but I haven't been able to write anything more about my trip to the Satchmo Summerfest because I immediately got thrown back into the world of a dedicated archivist (gone for 14 hours a day) for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, father of two (Melody is now ten weeks old and more on Ella in a bit) and husband of one (my poor wife Margaret needed hernia surgery two days before I left for New Orleans so I'm really doing double duty). But internally, my heart has still been beating to a second line rhythm (I've been listening to a ton of Paul Barbarin and Zutty Singleton) and I don't think I can ever wash away the good feelings a trip to the Satchmo Summerfest gives me.

Of course, in the past, I was able to enjoy them as something of a civilian. Not this time: I had a part in six different presentations, I did three book signings and had one live radio appearance, while three others I had taped aired during the same weekend! But am I complaining? Are you kidding? Jon Pult reminded me that my first words after my first Satchmo Summerfest appearance in 2008 were "I'm living the dream." Well, that sure hasn't changed, talking about Pops and signing books for so many devoted fans over the weekend. Heaven on earth!

I won't go on with any more blow-by-blow details but I do want to mention Yoshio Toyama again, the "Satchmo of Japan." In my last post, I mentioned filming Yoshio's group and I managed to update that post with one video. Well, in case you missed it, here's that video again. If Yoshio's speech about the relationship between Japan and New Orleans doesn't get to you, you're dead (and if his horn doesn't get to you, you're REALLY dead!). And again, pay attention to Selma Heraldo, who was born 88 years ago in the house that eventually neighbored Louis's home on 107th street, and who still lives there today, stealing the show at the end:

They immediately followed with a hot "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" with Yoshio proving his fluency in all of Pops's takes on the tune, including the original 1927 stop-time solo, the 1938 Decca masterpiece and all those swinging versions with the All Stars. Reminder, that's the great Lucien Barbarin on trombone:

And finally, the highlight, a video that is already the talk of 107th St in Corona, Queens: during Lucien Barbarin's vocal on "Bourbon Street Parade," Selma got up and "shook that thing!" I had stopped filming because I wanted to just sit back and enjoy the performance but when I saw Selma stand up, I lunged for the camera and this is how it came out:

Fun stuff! But onto more serious business, how about that Yoshio? Just days before, he visited New York City and sat in with my favorite big band, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Yoshio brought along two arrangements he made of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Chinatown, My Chinatown," both patterned off the original OKeh recordings. Well, there were no rehearsals but my goodness, did everyone involved hit it out of the park. Here's "Chinatown," which I watched three times in a row after Yoshio sent it to me:

And "Ain't Misbehavin'":

So thank you Yoshio and thank you Vince for all the great music!

Back to the Satchmo Summerfest, here's some great photos taken by Johnny Martinez, an excellent AV guy AND a fine photographer to boot! Here's Fred Kasten interviewing Dan Morgenstern:

Mr. Big Shot, signing books...

Me and Jon Pult, the guy who took a chance and booked me for one of these in 2008, when I was just a painter with a blog.

Fred Kasten interviewing George Avakian, aka "Uncle George"!

And then a real wild moment. While I was preparing my next presentation, I was rushed on stage, along with Richard Havers of Universal and the great Armstrong historian/tuba player David Ostwald. The next thing we knew, a representative of New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu was reading a statement to us:

The next thing we knew, we were being handed proclamations from the Mayor!

Here's how it read. Again, another sign of living the dream...and thank you Mr. Mayor!

Then it was showtime, as I discussed and screened "Satchmo the Great." Here's a beautiful shot of me enjoying it, sandwiched between the beautiful couple, Anahid and George Avakian:

Maison, the venue for the seminars, was packed all weekend long. Here's the crowd, digging Pops:

Even the bar area--which had hi-definition TVs connected to my presentation--was packed (they were selling Satchmo Spritzers and Louis Armstrong Shots for good measure):

Afterwards, I posed with Richard Havers for a picture with two representatives of French Quarter Festivals, the good people that make Satchmo Summerfest happen every year, Heather Twichell and Director Marci Schramm

A few weeks ago, I wrote about trumpeter Lionel Ferbos turning 100, becoming the oldest living jazz musician of today and well, probably ever. I couldn't wait to hear Lionel play and see him get interviewed for the Summerfest, but alas, a few days before, he suffered a hairline fracture of one of his ribs and was sidelined for the weekend. It was very unfortunate but I fully expect to see him celebrating number 101 next summer. In place of his interview, David Ostwald and myself threw together a second presentation around our hero, Dan Morgenstern. Here's David and Dan:

And finally, a nice shot of David Ostwald, Jon Pult and myself:

I have many, many more photos (as you'll know if you've found me on Facebook) but I'll quit while I'm ahead and say thanks to everyone who attended who made it such a special weekend!


Other quick notes from the weekend and everything that's preceded it and followed it....

While in New Orleans, I did a signing at a charming bookstore, Octavia Books. Before I left, I signed every copy of my book in the joint, about 40 in all. Octavia is now selling them on their website at cover price, $28.95. They're not advertised as signed on the web but you can go to their site and order it and they'll ship it anywhere around the world. A great way to get a signed copy...thanks to Tom and everyone else at Octavia!


I mentioned that the Universal boxed set, "Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz," was unveiled at the Satchmo Summerfest. Since it's actually coming from Universal's London branch, it's not the easiest thing to find in the United States. However, it does look like Amazon Amazon has begun carrying it, selling it for the great price of $151 (only 19 left in stock as I write this). And if you're in the New York area, we are carrying it at the gift shop of the Louis Armstrong House Museum so stop by, take a tour of Pops's pad and bring home the boxed set to end all boxed sets.


I've mentioned that one of the best parts of this set is it issues for the first time, Louis's complete set at the Hollywood Bowl on August 15, 1956, possibly my favorite all-time single set. I've already received e-mails from Armstrong nuts inquiring about the Hollywood Bowl show, asking it if will be available apart from the set Good news: this Tuesday, August 16, Hip-O Select is releasing not only Louis's set but the rest of the concert in a deluxe two-disc set with notes by Bob Porter. In case you didn't know, Pops was the closing act of a Jazz at the Philharmonic show produced by Norman Granz. The rest of the concert contains appearances by such hacks (that's a joke, son) as Art Tatum, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, Illinois Jacquet....should I keep going? You can get it here.


In the disappointing news bin, press releases had been circulating online for a few weeks that Louis's recordings with the Dukes of Dixieland were finally going to be released in proper fashion, supervised and blessed by the Assunto family and released on the SRI label. At first, I was skeptical; I have this material on LP and various CDs including the latest "Complete" three-CD set that just ripped off Blue Moon CDs (complete with a skip on "Wolverine Blues") and Hank O'Neal's old Chiaroscuro LPs of alternate takes. The late Gösta Hägglöf had told me that he had heard parts of the session tapes and they contained fascinating rehearsals, breakdowns, alternates, you name it...Audio Fidelity head Sid Frey pretty much let the tapes roll for the sessions. Still, nothing of substance had ever been done with this material in the digital age, especially coming from the United States, and at first I wasn't sure what to think when I heard about these two new volumes, "Lost Treasures."

Then in New Orleans last week, WWOZ DJ Sally Young told me she had Deano Assunto in and they played the new sets for two hours straight and they were fantastic, with all sorts of alternate takes and such. That began playing with my mind, so last night, I looked it up on Amazon, where it's available as MP3 downloads. I listened to a few tracks....hmmm, they did sound different, including a slower take of "Limehouse Blues." And I checked the timings against what I already had and some takes did seem to run longer. Hmmm, maybe the Assuntos did have access to the complete session reels Gösta told me about and created two new discs of material guaranteed to make Armstrong fans celebrate!

Well, call off the celebration. And let me say that I hate to play Debbie Downer...the Assuntos are a great family and this is obviously a labor of love. Every citizen of the world should hear this music and rejoice in it. But this is not the great release it should have been. Whoever did the mastering knew nothing about pitch correction, for one. Remember how I said some songs sounded different when I listened to the samples? That's because they were transferred at the wrong speed! Take "Avalon" for example, one of the highlights of the sessions and one of the greatest moments of Louis's later years. The original version is in F, the standard key the song is usually played in. The "Lost Treasures" series contains two versions. The one on volume 1 is a 6:21 alternate; actually it's an unedited take originally issued by Hank O'Neal in the 1970s on Chiaroscuro and containing more solos. Fine. But volume two contains the celebrated master, with the original splice intact from the end of Louis's vocal to the start of his trumpet solo. Here's the thing: it's in E!!! A half-step lower! What are they, rock musicians? It was so disappointing hearing this classic recording in the completely wrong key. And in the liner notes to the Chiaroscuro LP, Nat Hentoff wrote that Louis ad-libbed different lyrics every time he sang "Avalon," but the same vocal is heard on both versions, so there's nothing new to report on at all.

Sad to say, it doesn't end there. "Dixie" is in A. "Limehouse Blues" is in G, down again Ab. I could keep going but honestly, I couldn't listen anymore, hearing everything slowed down and dreary. Thus, the "lost treasures" are the alternates already issued on Chiaroscuro LPs and the Essential Jazz Classics three-CD set (which has its own problems). And all of the original masters, beloved for over 50 years, are in the wrong key. As someone who has owned this material in so many incarnations, I'm frankly annoyed the I spent $18 on these versions that I'll probably never listen to again. If you've never heard the material, by all means, find a way to get it but you might be better off getting the original LPs and a turntable.


And finally, the book continues rolling along, garnering a fine review in the Christian Science Monitor this week (the author's "sour note" had to deal with my sounding like a "gushing enthusiast"....Jesus, I hope he never reads the blog!). And on a personal note, I opened this entry by mentioning my family and I have to close with a quick tale of my daughter Ella, still going strong at two-years-and-four-months of age. Here she is, with a t-shirt and kazoo I brought back from the Satchmo Summerfest (look out Red McKenzie!):

She continues her quest to be the world's youngest moldy fig and Armstrong historian. I usually sing to her to put her to sleep at night, a variety of children's favorites ranging from "Twinkle Twinkle" to "Old McDonald." A few weeks ago, she mentioned that we were in a rocking chair so I starting singing "Rockin' Chair." Well, that was that. Since then, every night she says, "Sing old Rockin' Chair's got me!" So I started playing Louis's version and now she can identify it just by the opening trumpet notes.

Then I peppered in "When It's Sleepy Time Down South." She came into my basement yesterday and started requesting, "Down South! Down South!" So I put on a video of Louis doing "Sleepy Time" and she cooled it for a few minutes. Then I played "Dinah" on the piano and sang that to her. Now every time she's near the piano, she requests, "Play Dinah!"

I could keep going but my favorite story occurred a few weeks ago when, tired of watching "Sesame Street" and "Blue's Clues" before bedtime, I threw on Louis doing "Basin Street Blues" in "The Glenn Miller Story." She laid in the bed next to me for all five minutes and as soon as it was over, turned to me and said, "That was amazing." She ain't kidding....

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Greetings from New Orleans!

Hello all. Sorry I missed a post for Louis's 110th birthday celebration, but I was a little busy doing some celebrating of my own down here at the 11th annual Satchmo Summerfest. As usual, this is heaven on earth: spent Thursday night at the opening reception talking Pops with the likes of Dan Morgenstern, George Avakian, David Ostwald, Bruce Raeburn, Babette Ory, Dr. Jack Stewart, Don Marquis, Jon Pult, Michael Gourrier, David Sager, Fred Kasten....shall I keep going?

This is my fourth year here and I hope you indulge a little of my annual travelogue. Anyone who knows about New Orleans, knows about the cuisine. Anybody who knows about me knows I'm all about cuisine. So you can imagine my delight when this gorgeous b eauty was waiting for me in my hotel room:

That basket ain't going to look that in a few days...

And then it was off to the Louisiana Music Factory, that rarity of rarities: an actual store that sells actual CDs! Physical CDs that you can hold in your hand! And rare jazz CDs! I made a killing and have enough Edmond Hall, Paul Barbarin, Zutty Singleton, Duke Heitger and others to keep me swinging for the rest of this trip and then some.

This town is officially crazy for the Satchmo Summerfest, with posters and pictures of Louis everywhere. I particularly liked this lamppost and did my best to pull a Sinatra (minus the smokes):

The culmination of the first day was a reception at the gorgeous Muriel's that ended with a "Keynote Conversation" with myself and Richard Havers. I've mentioned Richard before as he was the mastermind behind Universal's massive boxed set, "Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz," which I wrote about extensively here. The box was officially unveiled yesterday and I can say in all sincerity that it is absolutely gorgeous. Seriously, it's just beautiful to look at, with a book full of lovely photos, the sheet music reproductions, the actual case, the CD (And the music is top notch, too!)

Richard and I spoke about the set, played some audio and had a general good time before handing the microphones over for the next bit of big news: the announcement that George Avakian, at age 92, is producing an Armstrong tribute album featuring Dr. John! Here's George and Dr. John breaking the news:

And here's a photo of me with George, Mac (as his friends call him), the great trombonist Sarah Morrow and the one and only Selma Heraldo, Louis Armstrong's neighbor, down in New Orleans to talk about her life this afternoon!

The rest of the evening was a blast but feeling a little hungry, the only way to close out the day was with a late night snack with David Ostwald and Richard Havers. The choice? You guessed it: red beans and rice!

So that was day one. Day 2 began (after a breakfast of beignets, natch) with a radio interview with Keith of WWOZ. Here's a pic:

And here I am later in the day with Keith, a neighbor of my guru, Jack Bradley and WWOZ DJ (and my Facebook friend) Sally Young:

The seminars this year were held at Maison on Frenchman Street and they really got a great crowd. My boss, Michael Cogswell, was up first with a presentation on his 20 years as director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Then Michael interviewed me on stage about my background and the themes of the book (which I illustrated with actual audio clips from Louis's private tapes) before I flew solo for one of my patented video presentations. Here on the blog, I've been enjoying sharing the audio for a lot of the music but only at the Satchmo Summerfest could I share the videos, including "Black and Blue" in East Berlin, Louis singing "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" and some short footage of Louis at the Waldorf in 1971.

And now for a story that proves that Louis is watching over us. After my presentation, I stood around and chatted a while with some attendees, including Richad Basi, a Swing DJ from Portland (the "University of I wished I got a master's degree from there!) and a fan of the blog. We chatted for a while but then I was going to run off and grab some dinner as I had some time to kill. At that point, the skies opened like you wouldn't believe. I didn't have an umbrella so I decided to stay and have dinner at Maison. Richard was still there so I joined him and we talked Pops.

Meanwhile, the bartender had put on some music, a nice mix including Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson and more. Richard asked about my history of Pops and if there was one song that made me see the light. Indeed there was, I explained, and I told him my story about being 15-years-old and checking out a cassette, "16 Most Requested Songs." I told him, "And it was track 14, 'St. Louis Blues,' from the W. C. Handy album, that was the one that really hit me and changed everything." And at the precise second I finished my sentence, the opening notes of that version of "St. Louis Blues" came blasting over the bar's sound system! Richard and I both started screaming and pounding the was pure insanity. If you had anything to do with it, thanks, Pops!

And then it was time for the always fun Satchmo Club Strut on Frenchman Sreet. The evening kicked off with the great Yoshio Toyama, the "Satchmo of Japan."

I've written much about Yoshio in the past. Not only is he a dynamite trumpeter (the closest I've ever heard to Pops) but he's a genuinely beautiful human being, starting the Wonderful World Foundation with his wife Keiko, devoted to donating musicians to children in New Orleans. I don't have to tell you that the devastation in Japan earlier this year was incredibly difficult for the Toyamas, their musicians and friends and family, to overcome. There was a lot of emotion in the room as the emcee talked about how the Toyamas were such a help after Katrina and the city of New Orleans had to reciprocate after the earthquake. Yoshio clearly had to fight back tears. It was so beautiful seeing him and his band there again...goodness knows what this last year has been like for each of them.

But then it was time to play and as always, it was Louis incarnated. Seriously, I try and see a lot of live music but there's something about Yoshio and his group that makes me smile from ear to ear the entire time. The music is so great and so swinging but they also have a flair for showmanship, they involve the audience, they love what they're doing....if you're not smiling when you watch them in action, there's something wrong with your mouth muscles. And like last year, they had a ringer on trombone, the legendary Lucien Barbarin. I filmed a few performances and will post them to YouTube when things calm down a have to see Louis's neighbor, Selma Heraldo, getting up and "shaking that thing" during "Bourbon Street Parade"! Here's a pic of Selma clearing enjoying the evening:

UPDATE: Here's Yoshio and company doing "When It's Sleepy Time Down South":

I spent the bulk of the club strut parked in front of the Fauborg Marigny book store, signing copies of my book alongside three other fantastic writers: John Swenson, author of New Atlantis: Musicisans Battle for the Survival of New Orleans, Thomas W. Jacobsen, author of Traditional New Orleans Jazz: Conversations With The Men Who Make The Music and Michael Patrick Welch, author of New Orleans: The Underground Guide. It was great company and each man has written a great book. And it's always a ball getting to meet people and sign books for them (or in the case of Jon Pult, who read it on his iPone, I signed his iPhone case!). Here I am signing a book for French Quarter Festivals President Janice Foulks and her husband Ed:

The rest of the night was spent with friends (including one I've known since fourth grade!) walking up and down Frenchman Street and catching the wonderful sounds coming from the clubs and from the brass bands on the street. No where else quite like it. Today it's more fun stuff as I'll be screening "Satchmo the Great" at 5. p.m., followed by a signing at Octavia Books at 7.

Summerfest aside, I've been featured all over the radio and in print in recent days. If you're interested in more about my little gappings, as Pops would say, here's some of the things that have popped up. First, if that picture of red beans and rice made you hungry, I talked about Louis's relationship with food with Patrick Jarenwattananon of NPR's "A Blog Supreme." As a bonus, he included Louis and Lucille's original recipe for the dish! Check it out here.

As for me, here's a neat little profile of myself by Brandon Twist in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. And here's a great review/interview by Steven Cerra over at Jazz Profiles, complete with a YouTube tribute to my book. On the radio, my appearance on the Bob Edwards Show on satellite radio aired this week, but you need XM or Sirius to hear it (though apparently you can download it for $2.95 on Bob's official site). Fred Kasten interviewed me about the book and my background on WWNO.

And finally, Sir Michael Parkinson hosted a BBC radio overview of Louis's life featuring interviews with Dan Morgenster, George Avakian, Jack Bradley, Oscar Cohen, Digby Fairweather, myself and many others. That can be heard here. And if you missed BBC radio's special on Louis's private tapes, that is also up and running at this link.

Phew, I think that's all for now. My book is still going strong, leading Amazon's jazz charts (though that pesky Miles Davis and his 21-year-old autobiography still makes its presence felt) so thanks to anyone out there who has purchased it (and remember, Amazon reviews are much appreciated!). But it's time to get back to the Summerfest so I'll quit while I'm ahead. Til next time!