Monday, June 23, 2014

University of New Orleans Gears Up for Satchmo Summer Fest

For more than a dozen years, the University of New Orleans Ethel and Herman Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies has co-sponsored educational seminars at the city's acclaimed annual "Satchmo SummerFest." And this year, organizers said, like every year, the free festival just gets better, helping to lure tourists from around the world to Louisiana.

Join Us!

This year's Satchmo Summerfest will take place on Friday through Sunday, August 1-3 on the grounds of the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint.

The 2014 Satchmo SummerFest seminars are free and open to the public and will take place all three days inside the museum, where an array of interesting speakers and scholars will present seminars, discussions, music, and movies about the history and progress of New Orleans Jazz and the life and music of Louis Armstrong.

Seminars are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. all three days.

An opening reception and keynote conversation will take place Thursday, July 31 at the Hotel Monteleone.

"The University of New Orleans Midlo Center and the French Quarter Festival have had a long and productive collaboration, with their festivals providing a way to circulate knowledge from our university into our community," said Connie Atkinson, director of the Midlo Center.

"Music fans around the globe know of the university through its role as educational component at our state's festivals, and the seminars give our public history students useful practice in serving the local community. As tourism continues to be a major economic engine for the state, the distinctive cultural history of Louisiana serves as an attraction for tourists. UNO can help supply the fascinating and continually surprising story of our state and our people to visitors."

Now in its 14th year, "Satchmo SummerFest" is known as the world's premier jazz festival dedicated to the life, legacy, and music of New Orleans' native son, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. This year's event, produced by French Quarter Festivals Inc. and presented by Chevron Oil, brings jazz experts, scholars and musicians from around the world to deliver educational seminars on the acclaimed jazz musician.

Fascinating Speakers, Seminars, and Discussions

The University of New Orleans has been involved with the festival since its inception in 2001, said Atkinson, who is a history professor at UNO, as well as a board member of the French Quarter Festival and chair of the Satchmo Summerfest Committee.

That year, the festival debuted on the 100th anniversary of the musician's birth as the Louis Armstrong Centennial Festival. Seminars associated with music featured members of Armstrong's All Stars, Satchmo's next-door neighbor Selma Heraldo, Armstrong biographers and noted Armstrong scholars, said Atkinson, who was instrumental in creating the first seminar series and those that followed.

Since then, the city of New Orleans has held a celebration on the trumpeter's birthday each summer and it has always been produced with aplomb by French Quarter Festivals, Inc. The nonprofit, which also produces French Quarter Festival in April and Christmas New Orleans Style in December, promotes the Vieux Carré and the City of New Orleans through special events and activities that are designed to showcase the culture and heritage of the city, contribute to the community's economic well-being and help to build pride among New Orleans residents.

Throughout the years, the Midlo Center has co-sponsored educational seminars associated with the annual Satchmo Summerfest, Atkinson said. The seminars help fulfill the Center's mission of circulating information about New Orleans into the community through public events and supporting the economy of the state through its projects.

Coordinating the three-day 2014 Satchmo SummerFest Seminars is Fred Kasten, an independent contributing radio producer/host at WWNO, an NPR affiliate operating at UNO. Before he retired from fulltime work in 2007, Kasten worked at WWNO for more than 20 years as an on-air talent, producer and program director. The longtime New Orleans resident develops independent audio projects from a home studio, producing radio features, commercials and podcasts. Kasten also does marketing and media consulting for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Serving as master of ceremonies is writer and historian Jon Pult. His many publications include "The Bakelite Radio Theater," a former weekly program he created on WTIX-AM in New Orleans, patterned on radio comedies of the 1930's, a cookbook "Cooking My Way Back Home," and a variety of articles for local periodicals.


Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Hotel Monteleone

7:30 p.m. - Keynote Conversation: The Making of the New Mosaic Records' Louis Armstrong Boxed Set

The jazz world has been buzzing about the new 9-CD boxed set Columbia and RCA Victor Recordings of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars, 1947-1958 from Mosaic Records. The set's co-producers, Scott Wenzel and Ricky Riccardi, will host an animated discussion on how the set came together, all the pitfalls they had to avoid, and detective work required to get it released.

The Wall Street Journal has said, "There's a copious amount on these Mosaic discs of truth, beauty, spontaneous joy and technical prowess". Many examples will be played during this conversation. As a special bonus, copies of this very limited-edition Mosaic set will be available for purchase all weekend at Satchmo Summerfest!

Friday, August 1, 2014, Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint Seminars

11:30 a.m. - Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism

Duke University music professor Thomas Brothers talks about his new book, Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism, in this multimedia 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 1930s, 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 a.m. - Disciples of Pops: Jack Bradley and Ruby Braff

Mick 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 p.m. - "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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 Story

Brice 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 p.m. - Satchmo the Singer

Singer/pianist Daryl Sherman focuses on Louis Armstrong thesinger 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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 p.m. - 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.

Over 40 Musical Performances

Two stages will feature over 40 contemporary and traditional jazz musicians and brass bands.

On Friday, August 1, the legendary Dirty Dozen Brass Band makes their Satchmo SummerFest debut. Often credited with revitalizing brass bands in New Orleans and around the world, the group will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015.

Brass bands will be heard throughout the weekend with performances from PresHall Brass, Treme Brass Band, Original Pinettes and more. Other artists making their Satchmo SummerFest debut are Joe Lastie, Mario Abney and the Abney Effect, Brass-A-Holics and the Smoking Time Jazz Club.

Critically acclaimed trombonist, composer, conductor and arranger Wycliffe Gordon will again perform at Satchmo SummerFest. Gordon, an eight-time recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association "Trombonist of the Year" award and DownBeat Magazine's "Critics Choice Trombonist" two years running, credits Louis Armstrong as a primary influence on his own life in music.


Read More

The Ethel and Herman Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies
UNO History Professor and WWNO Radio Host Co-Produced Seminar Series at Satchmo Summerfest 2012 
Satchmo Summerfest doles out details about 2014 New Orleans fete for Louis Armstrong
Satchmo Summerfest 2014: A New Orleans guide to food, transit, music and cultural lagniappe