Tag Archives: louis armstrong

10 Best Things About Day Two of the Newport Jazz Festival

1. Before launching into his set proper, Miguel Zenon warming up on his alto with the head to Sonny Rollins’ “John S” – an aside that begged to be followed through.

2. The day after Louis Armstrong’s birthday, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire generating a clarion disturbance during the “dare-you-to-look-away” set-starter, “Richard.” 

3. During a set with Maria Schneider’s Orchestra, Scott Robinson getting a sound out of his sax that didn’t scan like a bari, tenor, alto or C Melody that I’ve ever heard – let’s hear it for singular tone!

4. The unison glide used by the 3 Cohens to swoop back into Ellington’s theme for “The Mooche” after letting pianist Aaron Goldberg have some very productive wiggle room. 

5. The mix of precision and esprit brought to bear on Fletcher Henderson’s “Stampede” by Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks. Every inflection and nuance was accounted for while still making the music crackle.

6. Gretchen Parlato’s use of a shaker during her duet with guitarist Lionel Loueke. It barely made a sound, but its heartbeat rhythm bordered on orchestral.

7. Kurt Elling mouthing the words and swaying in place from the audience as Jason Moran’s Bandwagon spun the Eddie Jefferson recording of “Body and Soul.” 

8. Rudresh Mahanthappa’s obvious glee during a scalding solo by drummer Rudy Royston during a set by the saxophonist’s Samdhi group. 

9. Dan Weiss’s tabla intro birthing the swell of the melody lines at the start of Gil Evans’ “Punjab” during the performance by Ryan Truesdell’s Centennial Project.

10. The grin on audience member Marshall Crenshaw’s face as Kurt Elling provided a puckish reading of Kenneth Pachen’s “Job” during the set by John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1. 

+ one extra, take from the NPR archive…

11. The counterpoint groove on the Malian “Jara Bi” concocted by guitarist Bill Frisell and violinist Jenny Scheinman during their early morning duet.


Birthday Boy 

Marsalis’ Armstrong Dream: Silence Is Golden

Wynton Marsalis’s jazz has long boasted cinematic qualities. His 1992 album Citi Movement was presented as a tone parallel to the dynamics of urban life, and that Pulitzer he earned for Blood on the Fields reminds us that dramatic narrative can be conjured by a small orchestra as eloquently as it can by a libretto. So when the trumpeter and his 10-piece ensemble play their original music to Dan Pritzker’s Louis, a silent-film homage to Louis Armstrong, the coordination between the eyes and ears should be jake. The film, which screens Monday at the Apollo as part of a five-city American tour, imagines the young Armstrong as a wide-eyed naïf who battles a Chaplin-esque villain in boudoirs and backstreets while assisting a damsel in distress and yearning to show off his horn prowess. Call it the Armstrong Story told in dreamscape cinematography that’s as fetching as Marsalis’s poetic motifs. Hit the Voice for details. The Times has more backstory.