The Louis Armstrong Symposium - November 21

I interrupt my regular ravings about Louis Armstrong and his music to offer a bit of publicity for an event I am really excited to be a part of. Next saturday, November 21, the College of Staten Island/CUNY is holding a Louis Armstrong Symposium from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. A slew of Armstrong historians will be hand to deliver short lectures on a variety of topics and Dan Morgenstern, the dean of us all, will be delivering the keynote address, titled "Why Armstrong Endures." I'll actually be the opening act, discussing Armstrong's treatment of his opener, "Indiana," an appropriate topic considering my placement on the bill. So if you're in the NY/NJ area and want to kill a day learning about Pops, you do not want to miss this event. Here's the official press release and I hope to see you there!

CONTACT: William R. Bauer
The College of Staten Island/CUNY
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314

Jazz Scholars to Present Research in The Louis Armstrong Symposium at the College of Staten Island/CUNY

Staten Island NY, October 23, 2009 -

On Saturday, November 21, 2009, a gathering of jazz scholars will present their research on various facets of Louis Armstrong's life and music at CUNY's College of Staten Island. The event will take place from 9 AM to 5 PM in Building 1P, Room 120, the Recital Hall of CSI's Center for the Arts. It is open to the public and admission is free of charge. However, due to limited seating capacity, advance reservation is strongly suggested.

To make reservations and for more information, contact William R. Bauer at: 718-982-2534, or at For those who will drive, parking will be available in Lots 1 and 2. For directions to the College of Staten Island, visit the college website (click on prospective students and then on visit our campus): . For a campus map, go to:

The Louis Armstrong Symposium will feature a keynote address by Dan Morgenstern, jazz historian, author, editor, archivist, current Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, and former chief editor of Down Beat magazine. The list of presenters includes Ricky Riccardi, Michael Cogswell, John Szwed, James Leach, William R. Bauer, and Jeffrey Taylor. In morning and afternoon sessions, each presenter will offer a distinct perspective on his subject.

Each session will be followed by an open-ended panel discussion and question-and-answer session that will elaborate on themes that emerged during the talks. A conceptual jam session for jazz scholars, this format will give scholars and audience members alike a forum for in-depth discussion about Louis Armstrong's musical and cultural legacy.

The presenters will explore a range of topics. Ricky Riccardi, who is currently writing a book about Louis Armstrong's later years, will use Armstrong's renditions of "Back Home Again in Indiana" to challenge the negative critical reception that the trumpeter often received during the latter part of his career.

Michael Cogswell, Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum and curator of the Louis Armstrong Archive at Queens College's Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, will share and discuss samples from Armstrong's vast collection of LPs and 78s.

John Szwed, Professor of Music and Jazz Studies at Columbia University and John M. Musser Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, African American Studies, and Film Studies at Yale University, will explore Armstrong's role in Orson Welles's unfinished movie The Story of Jazz, and in other projects the filmmaker was working on in 1941.

James Leach, who teaches jazz history and theory at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, will focus on Armstrong's vocal and instrumental renditions of the Hoagy Carmichael classic "Stardust" in order to set in relief Armstrong's approach to singing and trumpet playing.

William R. Bauer, from the College of Staten Island and CUNY Graduate Center faculties, will present research from his current book project, an investigation into the jazz vocal techniques that Armstrong used in his early recordings

Jeffrey Taylor, Director of the H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music and Professor of Music at Brooklyn College, who also teaches in the CUNY Graduate Center's Ph.D. Program in Music and its American Studies Certificate Program, will consider the impact of various pianists on Armstrong's work during the trumpeter's Chicago years in the 1920s.

The scholarship presented at this symposium will both deepen and expand our understanding of this giant of twentieth-century music. The Louis Armstrong Symposium is produced with funding from the CUNY Research Foundation, and with support from the College of Staten Island and the Center for the Arts.


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