For many years, Louis Armstrong claimed to have been born on the Fourth of July in the year 1900. Because of that, the Fourth of July has been a time to celebrate the great jazz trumpet player by playing his records. Satchmo, as he was nicknamed, died in 1971, but more than ten years later researchers discovered that he was really born on August 4, 1901!
Who cares? Mr. Armstrong wanted his birthday to be July 4th, thus we celebrate him with one of his LPs in the ARC window. Who are we to argue with the Great Man?
This live album that we display in our window was recorded at Symphony Hall in Boston in 1947 with an all-star group and is one of his best. Obviously, Mr. Armstrong was no slouch and could hold his own in any concert, but here he is aided with such featured soloists as trombone player Jack Teagarden (himself quite a legend) and clarinetist Barney Bigard (a star with Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra for 15 years). The drummer for the occasion was Big Sid Catlett—quite possibly one of the most versatile percussionists in jazz, having recorded with both Satchmo and the bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie.
Armstrong’s early recordings by his groups, The Hot Five and The Hot Seven for the OKeh label during the Twenties are among the most revered in all of jazz. Thus he is truly an important proponent of a very American music and therefore worth being honored on this most American of holidays.