Tag Archives: Louis Armstrong

Ghostly Gems: 10 Songs for Halloween

Most of the songs you hear every Halloween, from “Monster Mash” to the Cramps’ catalogue, don’t come from New Orleans. Here’s our attempt the remedy that, with 10 ghostly gems from Louisiana-associated artists: Louis Armstrong, “Skeleton in the Closet” This 1936 gem, which Armstrong sang in the film Pennies from Heaven, has it all: Dancing [...]

Video: Evan Christopher at Satchmo SummerFest 2014

Evan Christopher and his band Clarinet Road put on a great show at Satchmo SummerFest 2014. Christopher, who confessed between songs that he hasn’t been able to perform at Satchmo SummerFest in recent years because of his worldwide touring schedule, opened with a rarely recorded Louis Armstrong song called “Louie’s Dream.” “It’s only been recorded [...]

Evan Christopher Brings a Modern Edge to the Creole Clarinet

Thunder rumbles off the bayou and wind-whipped palm fronds rattle outside Evan Christopher’s Mid-City home. It’s a gray afternoon in June and through the sounds of a brewing storm, the bright wail of a clarinet glissando pours out of Christopher’s shotgun double, gliding between thunder cracks like an organic melody for the rhythm of New [...]

Wynton Marsalis on Louis Armstrong, New Orleans, and America

When Louis Armstrong was only age 21 at the dawn of the Jazz Age, he left his hometown of New Orleans to seek his fortune. By 1928, he’d become the toast of the town in New York City after making a series of recordings that essentially defined jazz. A half century later, Wynton Marsalis, another [...]

New Mosaic Records Box Set Redefines Louis Armstrong’s Legacy

  Forty-three years after his death, Louis Armstrong’s later career is undergoing a serious reevaluation. Historians are re-examining the critical consensus that Armstrong’s brilliance was confined to his early career. No one disputes that his early recordings, including the magnificent Hot Five and Hot Seven sides from 1925-28, set a standard for jazz performance that [...]

Drummer Lawrence Batiste Recalls Growing up in Louis Armstrong’s Neighborhood

Not unlike many New Orleanians, 75-year-old drummer Lawrence Batiste had pre-birth experiences with the music of the Crescent City. Sitting in a coffee shop on Oak Street in the heat of this summer, he recalls, “There’s a story that my mom was carrying me before I was born. She liked second lines. She used to [...]

Satchmo on his Life as a Pot Loving “Viper”

In the 1971 Louis Armstrong biography Louis: The Louis Armstrong Story, 1900-1971 by Max Jones and John Chilton, Satchmo expounds at length about his life as a “viper,” a term for anyone who smoked marijuana, or gage, as he called it. “We always looked at pot as a sort of medicine, a cheap drunk and [...]

Top 10 Versions of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”

  Love it or not, “What a Wonderful World” is fated to be Louis Armstrong’s best-known recording, and there’s bound to be a handful of versions performed at Satchmo SummerFest this year. The recent Dr. John version is only the latest in a long line of recorded covers. Here (in reverse chronological order) are a [...]

The Louis Armstrong Effect

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, but he didn’t stay in the city. This weekend is our annual Satchmo SummerFest, the festival that pays tribute to one of the musicians New Orleans claims as a “native son”: Louis Armstrong. Armstrong was born in a very poor section of New Orleans into relatively dire circumstances [...]

Craig Klein Speaks Out Against 8 p.m. Music Curfew

As City Hall, the Mayor’s Office and the City Council grapple with the best approach to instituting an equitable city-wide noise ordinance, one issue that has been knocked into the spotlight is the existing curfew forbidding musicians from playing on the street after 8 p.m. Bonerama’s Craig Klein spoke out frequently from the stages of [...]