Sneak Preview: Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours
Jazz icon Louis Armstrong, always the consummate entertainer, turned a 1971 award ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington DC into an impromptu performance despite recent poor health. It was one of his last concerts before he passed away 5 months later. Joined by longtime band-mates Tyree Glenn and Tommy Gwaltney, Armstrong shows no signs of frailty while singing, and to everyone’s surprise, playing trumpet on classics including "Mack the Knife" and "Hello Dolly."
The recording, originally a limited vinyl release by the National Press Club in 1972, will be available widely for the first time via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on April 24th as part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month. Armstrong often signed letters "Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours," which makes for an apt title for the recording especially since his favorite recipes — everything from Louisiana Caviar to the Sazerac — are included in the liner notes, as they were in the original pressing.
The second half of the album finds Tyree Glenn and his band back at the National Press Club paying tribute to Louis shortly after his passing. Smithsonian Folkways will make the album available digitally (stream and download) for the first time while offering physical versions in print as on-demand CDs (with digital liner notes) available from folkways.si.edu.
The release will be commemorated with a ceremony and concert on Friday, April 27th, at the National Press Club. The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will consist of a press conference featuring officials from Smithsonian Folkways, the National Press Club, and the Louis Armstrong Foundation and a discussion with Q&A with musical experts. A reception will follow with the album played in its entirety.