Satchmo Seminars

2015 Special Events Coming Soon!

Videos of the 2014 Satchmo SummerFest seminars are now available online on our sponsor WWOZ’s website.

Friday, August 1, 2014
11:30 am – Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism – Duke University music professor Thomas Brothers talks about his new book, Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism, in this multi-media presentation highlighting a remarkable decade in Louis Armstrong’s life. In 1922 Armstrong left New Orleans for Chicago to join the King Oliver band. By the early 30s, he was one of the biggest stars in music. Learn about this transformative period during which Armstrong developed innovations as an instrumentalist and vocalist that continue to exert profound influences.

12:30 pm – New Orleans, Chicago and the African American Take on Jazz, 1925-1929 – Historian Sarah Waits discusses with Fred Kasten her work documenting the cultural reception of jazz – and jazz’s effects on society and culture in New Orleans and Chicago in the late 1920s, as observed in print by E. Belfield Spriggins of The Louisiana Weekly and Dave Peyton of The Chicago Defender. Waits’ research examines two key questions: How was jazz music and the jazz lifestyle treated by the black community? How did newspapers, as a form of cultural expression and communication connecting African Americans across the nation, play a part in the collective attitude of African Americans regarding The Jazz Age?

1:30 pm – The Storyville Exodus Revisited, or ‘Why Louis Didn’t Leave in 1917 Like the Movie Said He Did?’ – Hogan Jazz Archive Curator Bruce Raeburn explores the romantic mythology surrounding Storyville in jazz origins and dissemination narratives – which remains potent, despite decades of scholarly effort to present a more nuanced and complicated vision of how “The District” factored into New Orleans jazz history. In the film New Orleans (1947), the closing of Storyville prompts an exodus that includes Louis Armstrong’s departure for Chicago. Yet Armstrong didn’t actually relocate until 1922. Departure dates of other musicians like Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Joe Oliver, Kid Ory, Freddie Keppard, George Baquet, and many more contradict the time-honored assertion that the closing of Storyville forced New Orleans musicians to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Raeburn presents evidence that the end of Storyville was a “non-event” as far as the movements of most New Orleans jazz musicians were concerned.

2:30 pm – Louis Armstrong – Civil Rights Pioneer – Jazz historian and Louis Armstrong Eternity Band leader David Ostwald looks into Pops’ record on civil rights. There was a time when Louis Armstrong was regarded as an Uncle Tom, and in some far corners, he still is. Yet Armstrong’s stirring example can be held high as an inspiration. His courage and optimism in the face of the loathsome discrimination of his era made him a true civil rights pioneer. In fact, many of Armstrong’s black critics, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Duke Ellington – ultimately came around to seeing Armstrong as a source of true black pride.

3:30 pm – Africa to Armstrong- African roots of Jazz – Musician, educator, and AfricaNola director Jeff Klein presents a panel discussion and musical demonstration highlighting the cultural and musical connections between Africa and jazz, as embodied in Louis Armstrong. Armstrong spent substantial time on the African continent, visiting cities in more than 25 nations over the course of several years. “I feel at home in Africa,” he said. “I am a descendant of Africans to the bone, and I love the friendly manner in which people cope with things.” The presentation, which features members of AfricaNola and historian and cultural scholar Dr. Ibrahim Seck, will include a discussion of Louis Armstrong in Africa, as well as the roots of jazz in West African music.

4:30 pm – Cinematic Satch: Satchmo the Great Following Jeff Klein’s discussion on Louis and Africa, Louis Armstrong House Museum Archivist Ricky Riccardi will screen the ultra-rare Edward R. Murrow theatrical documentary, Satchmo the Great. This film follows Armstrong around the world from Europe to Africa and back home to New York and has never been made available on home video or DVD. This might be your only chance to see it in its entirety….don’t miss it!

Saturday, August 2, 2014
11:30 am – Disciples of Pops: Jack Bradley and Ruby BraffMick Carlon, author of Travels With Louis and Riding on Duke’s Train, discusses his friendships with two men: jazz photographer Jack Bradley, whom Armstrong dubbed “my white son;” and Ruby Braff (1927-2003), the soulful artist of the cornet. Jack, now 80 and living on Cape Cod, was a frequent speaker at earlier Satchmo Summerfests, and his masterful photographs are now at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens.

12:30 pm – “Red Beans and Ricely Yours”: Louis Armstrong and Food – We shouldn’t be surprised that a musician from New Orleans, who composed “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” and “Cornet Chop Suey,” and signed his letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours,” loved to eat. In this multimedia presentation, Michael Cogswell, Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York City, shares charming photos of Louis eating falafel, soba noodles, and other dishes during his world travels; restaurant menus that Louis saved and annotated; candid audio clips of Louis eating meals and commenting upon the dishes; food jokes from Louis’ private joke notebook; a peek inside Lucille’s cookbooks; and, of course, Louis’ personal recipe for red beans and rice. Complimentary Swiss Kriss for every audience member!

1:30 pm – Louis Armstrong in Denmark – Armstrong historians—and longtime Satchmo Summerfest favorites – Dan Morgenstern and Ricky Riccardi – team up to provide an all-inclusive look at Louis Armstrong’s relationship with Denmark, with footage of the trumpeter in Copenhagen in 1933, and later with popular Danish-Dutch singing duo Nina and Frederik in 1959, rare audio of the All Stars performing there in the 1950s and 1960s, and a look at the Danish Armstrong-inspired trumpeter, Theis Jensen.

2:30 pm – In New Orleans, Pops is Still “The Man” – Louis Armstrong left New Orleans before he established himself as an American icon, and though he never returned to live in his birth city, he has remained the face of jazz in his hometown over the decades. Armstrong’s influence on the identity of New Orleans jazz has increased in the recontextualized post-Katrina New Orleans. Musicians strive to emulate him and find he speaks directly to their needs. Audiences can hear Armstrong, not just in cover versions of his songs, but in the ways he guides New Orleans’ young musicians. Award-winning music writer John Swenson (OffBeat, Rolling Stone, UPI, Reuters) examines these ideas in a multi-media presentation using recordings, videos, and still photographs.

3:30 pm – The Deeper Link between Rampart Street Jews and the Birth of Jazz: “Bricolage” – The role of Rampart Street Jews in the birth and history of jazz, especially in Louis Armstrong’s early life, is familiar territory. One way to explore the deeper connection between Jewish and Jazz cultures is through the concept of “bricolage” – making do with what comes to hand. French for “tinkering,” bricolage, a kind of improvisation, is the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available. What did Louis learn from the Karnofskys’ rag and bone cart where he first learned to play the penny whistle? Author and educator Randy Fertel presents.

4:30 pm – Cinematic Satch: New Discoveries of Louis Armstrong on Television Author Ricky Riccardi has been screening rare clips of Louis Armstrong on television for Satchmo Summerfest since 2008. This year, he’s digging deep into his private collection to show an hour of footage rarely seen since originally airing in the 1950s and 1960s!

Sunday, August 3, 2014
11:30 am – From the Streets to the Academy and Beyond: the Brice Miller StoryBrice Miller describes himself as “a New Orleans-based jazz musician, performance artist, music/jazz educator, scholar, lecturer, and public humanities/cultural-scholarly engagement specialist” who is deeply appreciative of the legacy of Louis Armstrong. As a musician, Miller led the popular Mahogany Brass band for over 20 years, and performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the North Sea Jazz Festival. As an educator and scholar he has worked with New Orleans public school marching bands and most recently, completed his doctorate at University of Alabama. He’ll discuss his multi-faceted life and career with interviewer Fred Kasten.

12:30 pm – Satchmo the Singer – Singer/pianist Daryl Sherman focuses on Louis Armstrong the singer and his importance to American Popular Song. With recordings and live examples, she’ll discuss lyrics, melodic line, and phrasing to show how Louis made them his own. Satchmo crossed over and outside the box with songs from Broadway, film, pop songs and brought out the best in them.

1:30 pm – Taking Louis’ Lead: Armstrong’s New Orleans Clarinetists – Acclaimed New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher discusses the clarinet magic of Armstrong sidemen Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard and Edmond Hall. Collectively, these New Orleans reed masters and their varied approaches to creating counter-melodies to Louis’ trumpet lead represent a fascinating “how-to manual” for ensemble playing in the New Orleans style.

2:30 pm – Hello Pops! – That’s the title of the masterful, widely acclaimed 2012 cd-tribute to Louis Armstrong from renowned trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. The eight-time recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association Trombonist of the Year and DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Choice Trombonist two years running, Wycliffe Gordon credits the life, legacy and music of Louis Armstrong as a primary influence on his own life in music. He’ll talk about Armstrong’s influence, and his own burgeoning career as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, conductor, composer and educator, with interviewer Fred Kasten.

3:30 pm – Seminar All-Stars Talk and Play Pops – Back by popular demand, members of the Satchmo SummerFest All-Stars’ band – including David Ostwald, Dan Morgenstern, Ricky Riccardi and Bruce Raeburn – play and talk with Fred Kasten about the music of Louis Armstrong. A real treat!

4:30 pm – Cinematic Satch: Louis Armstrong’s Last Years – After two stints in intensive care and nearly a year off to recuperate, Louis Armstrong returned to the public spotlight in 1970 and 1971 with a series of highly-entertaining TV appearances. Ricky Riccardi returns to close out the 2014 seminars with a moving assembly of performances and interviews from the last stage of Armstrong’s career, including the last surviving television footage of Armstrong from The Dick Cavett Show, just four months before he passed away.

Opening Reception

Pops' Playhouse for Kids

Opening Day Second Line

Dance your way to the festival! The opening day parade begins at Washington Artillery Park at 700 Decatur Street at 10:40 a.m.

Jazz Mass and Second Line Parade

On Sunday, August 2nd, celebrate the annual Jazz Mass – a unique Sunday morning ministry at the church of Sidney Bechet. Located at 1210 Governor Nicholls Street, in the historic Treme neighborhood. Seating is limited. At 11:30, following mass, join the ‘Satchmo Salute’ Second Line Parade. A New Orleans cultural tradition, this very special second line proceeds to Satchmo SummerFest at the Old U.S. Mint (approximately 15 blocks).