Smithsonian Folkways to release rare Louis Armstrong concert, recipes
Elvis Costello may soon have something else to recommend for his fans with the announcement that Smithsonian Folkways will be releasing a recording of one of the last live performances by Louis Armstrong, "Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours." Available on CD and in digital form on April 24, the release comes in celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month.
Recorded in Washington, D.C., just five months before Armstrong's death in 1971, the recording features Armstrong favorites "Mack the Knife," "Rockin' Chair" and "Boy from New Orleans" from an impromptu concert. Rounding out Armstrong's five-track set is a tribute concert from the same venue after the bandleader's death and, as an added bonus for the gastronomically inclined, a selection of Armstrong's favorite recipes.
Included as part of the recording's original, vinyl-only limited release in 1972, the recipes include Armstrong's take on Louisiana caviar -- which, based on a quick Google search, could mean any number of things -- and the Sazerac, another New Orleans favorite that should prick up the ears of followers of the current vintage cocktail craze because, after all, who wouldn't want to follow in Satchmo's footsteps?
Armstrong's recordings enjoyed a welcome return to the public eye last year with Elvis Costello's advice that fans buy his "Ambassador of Jazz" box set rather than his own "The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook," which Costello viewed as overpriced. "Frankly the music is vastly superior," he wrote.
-- Chris Barton
Photo: Louis Armstrong studies sheet music before a 1956 performance in London. Credit: Associated Press