“Countless fans know Louis Armstrong as the beloved singer behind iconic recordings such as ‘What a Wonderful World’ and ‘Hello Dolly’, but he was also arguably the most influential musician of the 20th century.”
That’s the central theme of “Louis Armstrong 101: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong”, a virtual presentation to be made by Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, at 3 p.m., Sunday, June 13. The live stream event is the initial presentation in a new Jazz Education Series, jointly sponsored by the Metuchen Arts Council-Jazz and the New Jersey Jazz Society.
Riccardi is also the author of two books about Armstrong — Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong (Oxford University Press: 2020) and What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years (Pantheon Books: 2011). Will Friedwald, writing in London Jazz News, called Heart Full of Rhythm, “an all-encompassing, vividly detailed biographical portrait of one of the richest careers in all of music.”
The June 13th presentation will be available on the New Jersey Jazz Society website, njjs.org, as well as the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel. Attendance is free, but donations are encouraged. To register, log onto https://bit.ly/3iaEWqt.
Future Jazz Education presentations will be: July 18, “Jeru’s Journey: The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan” by Sanford Josephson, author of Mulligan’s biography of the same name and Editor of Jersey Jazz Magazine; September 19, “Nat King Cole@100 (NKC100) by Will Friedwald, music writer and author of Straighten Up & Fly Right: The Life & Music of Nat King Cole; October 18, “An Informal Survey of the Great Baritone Saxophonists” by baritone saxophonist Frank Basile, a member of the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band; and, November 21, “Ellington and Strayhorn: Alone and Together” by David Hajdu, Columbia University Professor, Music Critic for The Nation, and author of Lush Life, a biography of Billy Strayhorn. One additional program will be announced later.
PHOTO OF RICKY RICCARDI BY YONI BROOK