Louis Armstrong and Berlin

Louis Armstrong House MuseumThe Louis Armstrong Museum in New York is among the many participants worldwide to celebrate the International Jazz Day (see report on these pages) on April 30th.

The Museum, located in Queens, is showing “Louis Armstrong Live in Concert, East Berlin 1965″.

Here’s what the museum’s homepage writes about the forthcoming event:

“This concert was held at the Berlin Friedrichstadtpalast in the middle of Armstrong’s first historic tour behind the Iron Curtain. The East Berlin concert represents the only surviving footage of a complete, two-set show by Armstrong’s All Stars. This concert has never been shown on American television or made available on home video, making this a rare chance to experience the thrill of a live Louis Armstrong.

In 1965, in East Berlin, you couldn’t buy a Louis Armstrong record but every concert was sold out and he received unrestrained standing ovations and was mobbed for autographs after each show. This concert screening represents the deep impact of Ambassador Satch as America’s Ambassador of goodwill and is the perfect program to honor International Jazz Day.

The concert features a showstopping, multi-encore version of Hello, Dolly!. In addition to hits such as “Mack the Knife,” “Blueberry Hill” and “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In,” Armstrong also blows spectacular trumpet on instrumentals “Indiana,” “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” and “Royal Garden Blues.” Each of Armstrong’s All Stars–including trombonist Tyree Glenn, clarinetist Eddie Shu, pianist Billy Kyle, bassist Arvell Shaw, drummer Danny Barcelona and vocalist Jewel Brown–also get a chance to shine on features of their own choosing. The highlight of the concert is Armstrong’s emotionally charged rendition of “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue.” This rendition of “Black and Blue,” is one of the most chilling moments of the trumpeter ever captured on film.”

On my last visit to the museum, the food there was exceptionally good so I really have to mention here that the reception includes Louis’s favorite red beans and rice recipe.

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