This Fourth of July you can rejoice in our nation’s independence with a weekend’s worth of jazz. New York’s WKCR-FM will broadcast a marathon of Louis Armstrong’s music from 11 p.m. on Friday July 2 to 2 a.m. on Monday July 5.
For those who do not live in New York, fear not—the radio station also broadcasts over the Internet from their Web site, www.wkcr.org.
WKCR, which has also done a similar celebration for John Coltrane, selected Armstrong since the trumpeter considered his birthday to be July 4, 1900. The marathon will cover the scope of Satchmo’s career, from his early work with King Oliver to the jazz star’s last recordings.
The festival’s schedule is as follows, plan your barbecuing, beer drinking and firework lighting accordingly:
Late Friday Night (11 p.m. – 4 a.m.): Opening Potpourri
The celebration opens with recordings spanning the breadth of Armstrong’s career, hinting at the depth of listening to come.
Early Saturday Morning (4 – 8 a.m.): The Last Years
A sampling of late-vintage Armstrong, outside of the All-Stars. Expect to hear everything from hit Broadway show tunes to obscure efforts in the 1960s vein.
Saturday Morning (8 a.m. – noon): The Earliest Years
A survey of Armstrong’s earliest recordings with Joe “King” Oliver, Clarence Williams, and others in the traditional style of New Orleans jazz.
Saturday Afternoon (noon – 4 p.m.): The All-Stars
Studio recordings of Armstrong’s great combo, which he led through several incarnations over the final two decades of his life.
Saturday Evening (4 – 8 p.m.): Louis & the Big Bands
Recordings featuring Armstrong both as a Jazz Age sideman, most notably with the great Fletcher Henderson, and as the leader of his own Swing Era orchestra.
Saturday Night (8 p.m. – midnight): Louis & the Blues Singers
Armstrong’s cornet accompanied countless singers in the 1920s, from the Queen of the Blues, Bessie Smith, to the Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers.
Late Saturday Night (midnight – 4 a.m.): Overnight Potpourri
More highlights from the Armstrong discography.
Early Sunday Morning (4 – 8 a.m.): Live All-Stars
Beginning in 1948, Armstrong’s All-Stars regularly toured the world to great acclaim. These concert recordings demonstrate why.
Sunday Morning (8 a.m. – noon): More from the Middle Years
Another listen to Armstrong’s often-neglected recordings of the Swing Era, when both he and jazz rose to their greatest heights of popularity.
Sunday Afternoon (noon – 4 p.m.): The Hot Fives and Sevens
Armstrong’s great studio sessions of the 1920s.
Sunday Evening (4 – 8 p.m.): Louis the Singer
An in-depth listen to the Armstrong voice.
Sunday Night (8 p.m.- 2 a.m.): Closing Potpourri
The holiday weekend closes with masterpieces from across Armstrong’s career, including a set of uninterrupted music during New York City’s fireworks display.