Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

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

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.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published