The Louis Armstrong Story: history in the making

If The Louis Armstrong Story concert isn’t already on your radar, it should be. Quite simply, this special show is going to make history.

On 7th March, nearly 2,000 people will hear the stuff of legends, some of Louis Armstrong’s big band arrangements which haven’t been heard in over 60 years.

Ricky Riccardi, archivist at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York, is bringing to Bristol a selection of Louis’s huge body of work, including original band arrangements last played in 1947 when Armstrong broke up his big band for the final time. Louis kept absolutely everything relating to his career, a fascinating archive that we are hugely privileged to have access to.

Ricky will introduce the show with some words about the great Satchmo’s life. In between songs, we have the great honour of readings from renowned actor Clarke Peters, who plays detective Lester Freamon in The Wire. Peters will narrate and perform from rare notes, interviews, letters and privately recorded material held at the archive. This section will be an absolutely fascinating insight into the life of a legend, who lived and breathed the spirit of jazz.

The music sections will be played by a combination of the big band, featuring Lillian Boutté, and a small group representing Louis ‘All-Stars’ which he led from 1947 until his death in 1971. Lillian is the Official Musical Ambassador for New Orleans, a title previously only held by Louis Armstrong.

The small group features a star-studded array of talent, including Evan Christopher, clarinet (New Orleans), Don Vappie, guitar (New Orleans), Enrico Tomasso, trumpet (UK). They’ll play Armstrong’s most well known songs, such as Hello Dolly, What A Wonderful World and Mack The Knife.

Enrico famously met Louis in 1968 at the age of 7, playing for Louis as he stepped off the plane. Louis stayed in touch with Enrico and his family until his death – and here’s a photo of the two together.

This show will be a touching reunion of some incredibly talented musicians, whose lives were all touched by the legend and spirit of Satchmo.

8 March 2015 // Colston Hall, Hall One // £15 full, £8 concession

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