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Final Chorus: Jazz’s First Lady of Charity

When Phoebe Jacobs, longtime friend and associate of Louis Armstrong, says, “Don’t let anyone tell you Louis is dead because he’s not,” she’s not talking only about the continuing presence of his music all around the world. As the central force of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Phoebe keeps providing grants to a range of projects fulfilling Louis’ wish “to give back to people some of the goodness I’ve had from them.” Particularly notable in its worldwide influence is the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, based throughout New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center, from the intensive care unit to the treatment of children and adults with asthma and pulmonary disease.

And in June this year, the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine presented at Beth Israel the First International Musical Therapy and Trauma symposium, attended by therapists from across this country, South Africa, Ireland, et al. Dr. Joanne Loewy, director of this Armstrong Center, has also lectured on the findings of the music therapy part of Louis’ living legacy in European hospitals.

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Originally Published
Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Over more than 60 years, Nat Hentoff (1925-2017) wrote about music, politics, and many other subjects for a variety of publications, including DownBeat (which he edited from 1953 to 1957), the Village Voice (where he was a weekly columnist from 1958 to 2009), the Wall Street Journal, and JazzTimes, to which he regularly contributed the Final Chorus column from 1998 to 2012. Of the 32 books that he wrote, co-wrote, or edited, 10 focus on jazz. In 2004, Hentoff became the first recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters award for jazz advocacy.