What: Press Conference with the National Press Club, Smithsonian Folkways and The Louis Armstrong Foundation to discuss the release of the live recording: "Satchmo at The National Press Club." It is believed this is the last recorded trumpet performance by the greatest trumpet player of all time. The concert took place January 29, 1971.
When: Friday, April 27 at 1 p.m.
Where: The First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor Washington, D. C.
Who: Theresa Werner, President of the National Press Club; Oscar Cohn, Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong Foundation (Invited); Dr. Daniel Sheehy, Center for Folklife Director, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Details: At the news conference officials from the three organizations will describe the process that brought this music, which so far has been heard by only a few hundred people, to the public and what it means for these institutions and their missions.
Louis Armstrong was in Washington in early 1971 to perform at the Inauguration of then incoming National Press Club President Vernon Louviere. Mr. Louviere, who can be heard being sworn in at the beginning of the record, was a journalist and a native of New Orleans. The Master of Ceremonies for the program was British journalist David Frost who can also be heard on the recording.
Armstrong had been too ill to play trumpet for most of 1970 and his performances, which were rare, consisted of 10 minutes of singing. But on this evening of January 29, 1971, Armstrong performed for nearly 30 minutes and played trumpet in addition to singing. The room was filled with more than 300 journalists and their enthusiastic guests. Armstrong lived for just 5 months after this performance. He made only a few public appearances during that time most of which were talk show interviews or of the short singing-only variety and none of which were recorded in this manner.
Editors note: Immediately after the news conference, in the same location, there will be a panel discussion where music experts will talk about what they hear in the music and use the record to illustrate their points. Among the panelists will be Oscar Cohn, Executive Director of the Armstrong Foundation (Invited); Chris Royal, an Associate Professor of Music at Howard University and a trumpet player. George Avakian, Armstrong's record producer, will join the panel via phone. There will be Press Club members present who attended the Inauguration. Mr. Louviere's daughter is also expected to attend. Both the news conference and the panel discussion are open to the working press and members of the National Press Club. The Press Club is gathering content about this project at the following URL: www.press.org/satchmo. Those interested in purchasing the music may go to the following URL: www.folkways.si.edu.
In recent days there has been significant press attention to this story with reporting in the Washington Post, New York Times and Canadian Broadcasting Corp., as well as items in trade press and blogs.