Louis Armstrong House Celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month
Louis Armstrong House Museum is celebrating Jazz Appreciation month in style this April. 85 years ago, Louis Armstrong recorded one of his all-time masterpieces, "West End Blues, " one of the most important records in jazz history. For Jazz Appreciation Month, the Museum's historic house tours will feature an ultra rare recording of Louis Armstrong performing "West End Blues" live at Freedomland in 1961. This performance was recently donated to the Museum's Archives by the son of Freedomland sound engineer Peter Denis. Previously unissued and not in any discographies, it will be featured only during Jazz Appreciation Month! This recording compliments the Museum's current exhibit, Louis Armstrong at Freedomland that closes April 30, 2012.
And there's more …
And if that wasn't reason enough to visit the Museum this April, three incredibly rare CDs from the late Gösta Hägglöf's "Ambassador Records" label of Sweden are only available for sale in the Museum's gift shop beginning April 2nd. These three volumes, beautifully remastered, of Louis Armstrong's 1940s and 1950s Decca recordings are available exclusively at the Museum. (Sorry mail order is not available.)
These gems are:
Because of You 1950-1953: A collection of Louis Armstrong's best-loved pop singles including "A Kiss to Build a Dream On, " "La Vie En Rose" and "I Get Ideas, " as well as duets with other legends such as Bing Crosby, Louis Jordan and Ella Fitzgerald.
Heavenly Music 1949-1957: A compilation of some of Louis Armstrong's most beautiful performances, including many arrangements by Gordon Jenkins ("Blueberry Hill, " "That Lucky Old Sun, " "When It's Sleepy Time Down South") plus the entire rare 1957 album, Louis and the Angels.
Moments to Remember 1952-1956: This disc collects some of Louis's most rare recordings of the 1950s, including his 1953 date with "The Commanders, " duets with Gary Crosby and a session of Benny Carter arrangements including Louis's cover of The Platters' "Only You."
Louis Armstrong at Freedomland:
The Louis Armstrong at Freedomland exhibit, which runs through April 30th, is the story of the early 1960s and is in many ways a story of freedom. In the United States, African-Americans were growing more vocal in their struggle for Civil Rights. A nation turned with hope to young president John F. Kennedy to lead them through the Cold War. The Berlin Wall was constructed in August 1961, splitting one of Europe's biggest cities in half. The Vietnam War was beckoning.
Brought down by the often-volatile reports on the nightly news, Americans looked for escape through sporting events, television and even in amusement parks, most notably Disneyland. On June 19, 1960, Freedomland U.S.A., "The World's Largest Entertainment Center, " opened in the Bronx in front of a crowd of 63, 000 guests. Though the 85-acre park was larger than Disneyland, it was already in debt by its second year and would close in 1964 after just five seasons. Louis Armstrong performed there in 1961 and 1964.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum's vast collections contain many precious artifacts and previously unseen photographs by Jack Bradley, helping "Louis Armstrong at Freedomland" to paint an intimate portrait of Armstrong on stage and off during this turbulent time in history, spreading joy to fans young and old with his integrated band of All Stars.
Planning Your Visit:
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th Street in Corona, Queens. The museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm. The last tour of the day is at 4:00 pm. The gift shop, exhibit area and garden can be explored before or after the tour.
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