I interrupt my series of 80th anniversary posts on Louis Armstrong's April 1933 Victor recordings to bring you some important news: this Tuesday is International Jazz Day! That's not the news, though. As you probably know, I'm the Archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum (aka dream job). We've decided to get involved in the Jazz Day festivities and it should be of great interest to Armstrong fans from around the world.
A few weeks ago, in my interminable "Anatomy of an All Stars Concert" series, I analyzed a set list from Freedomland on September 7, 1961, taken from two reel-to-reel tapes donated to the Museum. Alas, there are no commercial plans to release the recordings but on April 30, at 2p.m. (eastern time), I'll be hosting a presentation about Louis Armstrong at Freedomland.
It promises to a be an action-packed event. I'll be showing extremely rare Jack Bradley photographs from Freedomland, scanned from the original negatives (by my diligent intern, Brynn White). Then I'm going bring out my hero, Dan Morgenstern, who was at Freedomland (he's in some of Jack's pictures and wrote about the September 7 performance). Dan will give his memories of Freedomland and seeing Louis there, which should be illuminating.
And then we'll have a listening party! I'm going to play 3 or 4 tracks from the Freedomland tapes--including "I Surrender Dear," "Jazz Me Blues" a stunning "West End Blues," the last surviving version in the Armstrong discography! I think I'm the only human who has heard the tapes so Dan, and everyone else listening, will be able to react and comment with fresh ears.
I think that's more than enough but for you, dear loyal readers, the event will end with a surprise announcement. Many months ago, on this here blog, I said that I had my hands in a project that would cause Armstrong nuts to rejoice. For over a year, I haven't been able to say a word about it publicly, because it wasn't approved and could fall apart at any time. Well, I'm beyond happy to report that as of now, the project will be green lit and my dreams will become a reality (it's go time, Pat Goodhope). All we be known a few minutes before 3 on Tuesday.
Though the event is being put on by the Louis Armstrong House Museum (and with strong support by the Jazz Journalist's Association), buzz has been so strong that we've had to move the event from the small Armstrong House exhibit area to the much more roomy auditorium at nearby Langston Hughes Library and Community Center (100-01 Northern Boulevard for the locals). Food will be served and I'm told there'll be some trumpeters in the house, too!
So why am I running my mouth about an event in Queens, when most of my dedicated readers are not in Queens, and many aren't even in the United States? Because--dig this--the afternoon will be live streamed on the Internet! So, if you're even remotely near a computer at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, go here and watch me and Dan talk about Louis and Freedomland, listen to those rare treasures and stay for the big announcement. Again, if that link doesn't work, here's the address: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/louis-armstrong-house-museum. For now, as far as I know, the event will be streamed live and might be available to be archived on the web until a later date (if ever) so do what you have to do to catch it live....and of course, come back to the blog next week for some more details on the project.
My series on the Victor recordings WILL continue soon but this is something I thought takes precedence for now. So spread the word and if I can't see you, hopefully you'll be watching me talk about Pops online on International Jazz Day. Til then!