--Proceeds Will Fund Continuing Operation
of Satchmo’s Corona, Queens, Home--
NEW YORK, NY, November 11, 2011 ─ Louis and Lucille Armstrong’s modest home in Queens is now a National Historic Landmark and New York City landmark visited six days a week, 52 weeks a year, by people from all over the world. And what was once a stack of 72 shipping cartons of “Satchmo’s stuff” has grown to become the world’s largest research archives for a jazz musician. “Louis probably never imagined that his little house in Queens would become an international tourist attraction,” said Michael Cogswell, Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum (LAHM), which is administered by Queens College/CUNY. “But I’m sure that he would approve!”
After providing services and programs for 25 years, LAHM will hold its first annual gala on Tuesday, December 6. “Every cent we raise will go to fund operations,” says Cogswell, “including our historic house tours, free children’s concerts and other performances, and making the archives accessible to the public at no charge.” A who’s who of the jazz and cultural world is expected to attend. The event will honor George Avakian, Jon Faddis, and Dr. James Muyskens.
George Avakian (now 92 years old) is a legendary jazz record producer who recorded some of Armstrong’s greatest albums, including Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy and Satch Plays Fats. And it was Avakian who brought the song “Mack the Knife” to Armstrong, instinctively knowing that it was so suitable for him that it would become a mega-hit. Avakian’s superb ear and impeccable good taste made him a favorite producer not only for Louis Armstrong but also for Dave Brubeck, Erroll Garner, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, and Sonny Rollins.
Jon Faddis is one of the world’s finest trumpeters, past or present. The great Dizzy Gillespie, his friend and mentor, said, “He’s the best ever, including me!” As a seven-year-old, Faddis was inspired to take up music after seeing Louis Armstrong on television. Today, he maintains a nonstop schedule of touring, recording, and teaching. Faddis served as the musical guest of honor for the ribbon-cutting of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in 2003 (producing a 15-trumpet tribute for the event) and has performed for three annual children’s concerts in Louis Armstrong’s garden.
Dr. James Muyskens is the ninth president of Queens College/CUNY, the parent organization of the Museum. Under his dynamic leadership, the college has enjoyed a period of outstanding growth and achievement. Dr. Muyskens, who holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Michigan, appreciates that Louis Armstrong represents “a life well lived.” The achievements of the Louis Armstrong House Museum would not have been possible without Dr. Muyskens’ encouragement and support.
The gala will take place at the 3 West Club on 3 West 51st Street in Manhattan. A cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception at 6 pm will be followed by an awards ceremony and dinner. The evening will conclude with a performance by Jon Faddis, accompanied by David Hazeltine (piano), Todd Coolman (bass), and Dion Parson (drums).
The announcement of the Museum’s first gala has sparked an enthusiastic outpouring of support. Armstrong discographer Hans Westerberg is traveling from Finland to attend, and pledges have already been received from Japan, Beverly Hills, and Chicago. The Museum anticipates that the event will sell out.
Gala tickets, sponsorships, and journal ads are available by calling Nayelli DiSpaltro (Development Officer) at 718-997-3670 or by visiting www.louisarmstronghouse.org.