National Press Club

Louis Armstrong at The National Press Club

Upper left: National Press Club President Vernon and Mrs. Louviere with Louis and Lucille Armstrong. Lower right: Humorist Mark Russell (right) greets Louis Armstrong.

Louis Armstrong was in Washington on January 29, 1971 to perform at the Inauguration of then incoming National Press Club President Vernon Louviere, a fellow native of New Orleans. Armstrong had been too ill to play trumpet for much of 1970 and the infrequent recordings of him from this period consist only of vocal performances.

But on this evening Armstrong, backed by a group that included trombonist Tyree Glenn and Tommy Gwaltney on clarinet, performed for nearly 30 minutes, playing trumpet in addition to singing. The songs performed were: When It's Sleepy Time Down South; Hello, Dolly; Rockin’ Chair; Boy from New Orleans and Mack the Knife.

NPC member Kim Gregory of CBS News, knowing that Armstrong would be performing, brought some state-of-the-art field audio recording equipment that evening to capture the event. About 300 copies of the recording (along with six additional tracks from a 1972 Armstrong tribute concert featuring Glenn and Gwaltney) were pressed to vinyl a year later for distribution to those who had attended Louviere's inaugural ball as Satchmo at The National Press Club: Red Beans & Rice-ly Yours. It would be the last issued recording of Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet.

Mr. Armstrong died in his sleep of a heart attack on July 6, 1971, a month before his 70th birthday. His honorary pallbearers included (among many other luminaries) David Frost, who had acted as emcee at Louviere's Inauguration and can be heard on the recording.

This rare recording will be available widely for the first time via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on April 24th as part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month. Armstrong often signed letters "Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours," which makes for an apt title for the recording especially since his favorite recipes — everything from Louisiana Caviar to the Sazerac — are included in the liner notes, as they were in the original pressing.


Listen & Purchase

Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours
Hello, Dolly
From Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours

By Louis Armstrong

Track Listing

Liner Notes (22MB)

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Satchmo at the National Press Club - Red Beans and Rice-Ly Yours - Louis Armstrong, Tyree Glenn & Tommy Gwaltney


Coverage

Louis Armstrong: With Love And Grace, A Final 'Hello'
NPR Song of the Day - May 15, 2012

Sunday Passage: Louis Armstrong
CBS Sunday Morning

Armstrong's final performance released
Associated Press/Yahoo! News

Rare Louis Armstrong recording released
BBC News

Satchmo's Last Recording
Chicago Sun-Times

Wynton Marsalis reacts to re-discovered Louis Armstrong live recording
CBS This Morning

Decades-old Louis Armstrong recording unearthed
CBS Evening News

Rare Louis Armstrong concert released
NBC Nightly News

Louis Armstrong’s memorable National Press Club performance to be rereleased
Washington Post

A 1971 Armstrong Performance to Be Released as Album
New York Times - Arts Beat

Louis Armstrong rare recording, made in Washington, to be re-released
Washington Post - The Style Blog

Save the Date: Hear Louis Armstrong’s Final Recorded Trumpet Performance, April 27
NPC Wire

Smithsonian Folkways to release rare Louis Armstrong concert, recipes
L.A. Times - Culture Monster

Sneak Preview: Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours
Smithsonian Folkways

One of Louis Armstrong’s final performances (and favorite recipes) to be released this month
Groove Notes