In celebration of International Jazz Day (sponsored by UNESCO), and the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month (a major initiative of the Smithsonian Institution), the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Jazz Journalists Association presents Louis Armstrong at Freedomland: Never Before Heard Recordings of an American Icon, a Listening Session & Lecture on April 30th.
This event showcases the public premier of newly discovered recordings by the beloved trumpeter and entertainer, Armstrong, at a fabled although short-lived Bronx amusement park in 1961. Highlights from Armstrong’s live performances from the 85-acre park billed as the “World’s Largest Entertainment Center,” which boasted more than 63,000 guests for its opening day in 1960, will be played. These recordings, recently donated to the Museum by the son of Freedomland sound engineer Peter Denis, have never been circulated or issued, and are not listed in jazz discographies.
The program will be presented and interpreted by Ricky Riccardi and Dan Morgenstern. Mr. Riccardi is the Museum’s Archivist and the author of What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years. Dan Morgenstern, newly added to the program, recently retired Director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University and a Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism honoree of the JJA’s. He is a jazz historian and archivist, author, editor, and educator who has been active in the jazz field since 1958. A prolific annotator of record albums, Morgenstern has won seven Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes (1973, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1991, 1995, 2006, and 2009). He received ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award for Jazz People in 1977 and in 2005 for Living with Jazz. In 2007, Dan Morgenstern was named the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor in Jazz.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a proclamation honoring International Jazz Day, which will be presented as part of the program.
Following the presentation, the Jazz Journalists Association will toast Armstrong at a special soul food reception to mark the finale of its JazzApril media campaign at in support of Jazz Appreciation Month, International Jazz Day and grassroots jazz activism in the U.S. and beyond.
Due to increased demand, the event has been relocated to the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, originally to be held at the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The event is free and open to the public and begins at 2:00 pm.
Reservations for this free event can be made by calling the Louis Armstrong House Museum at 718.478.8274.
Further information about the Jazz Journalists Association is available from President@jazzjournalists.org. The Jazz Journalists Association media campaign for JazzApril can be found online at www.JazzApril.com. The Louis Armstrong House Museum can be found online at www.LouisArmstrongHouse.org.