I missed this little gem over the last week, and am so very ecstatic that this came out. No, there was not a half million dollar hologram of Satchmo at Coachella. There is apparently an archived recording of Louis Armstrong performing live at the national Press Club in Washington on January 29th, 1971. This historic recording would be the last live recording of Louis before he passed away less than six months later on July 6th, 1971.
It’s really exciting news for us jazz and music nerds. Louis is my god, as he is for a lot of us jazz folks. He’s a mythical idol that us mere mortals only wish we could sound like on our best days. Louis had it all. He took the music of Europe, Africa, and America and created some of the most creative and brilliant music in history. His raspy marijuana tinged scatting is recognizable in a nano second. His technical abilities on trumpet and improvisations are unmatched decades later. His composing skills were light years before his time. In other words, God.
As a musician who has poked around on the trumpet since I was six years old, I have never been more angered or motivated by a musician than Louis Armstrong. Some days I spend hours transcribing a solo of his, trying to figure out why a certain solo is so bad ass. And some days, listening to him makes me want to throw my trumpet into Lake Merritt. Why even try, when I’ll never sound like Louis.
I am going to download this new Louis Album ASAP, and check back in after a listen through.