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Louis Armstrong: Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours

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There is no denying the historical significance of Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours. Recorded on Jan. 29, 1971, the live date was Pops’ penultimate in-person performance-there would be one more in the spring and then Louis Armstrong was gone in July. The event was the inauguration of a new president of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and Armstrong and his band were there to entertain the gathered.

That they did, but this is a diminished Armstrong at work. Of the 11 tracks on the album-whose title derives from a phrase Satchmo customarily signed to his fans-only five actually feature Armstrong, and the first of those is mostly a long, snoozy spoken introduction that eventually segues into a lethargic reading of “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South.” The rest is given over to a posthumous tribute at the following year’s National Press Club bash featuring trombonist Tyree Glenn (who earlier serves as Pops’ foil on “Rockin’ Chair”) and clarinetist Tommy Gwaltney.

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