JazzTimes reader Girish Trivedi, of Mumbai, India, sent in some recently discovered photographs of Louis Armstrong performing in Italy. Below are Trivedi’s memories of that concert and a meditation on Armstrong’s legacy.
I recently found two pictures of the Louis Armstrong Sextet that I had taken from the audience on my Brownie, of a live concert that took place at Teatro Alfieri in Turin, Italy, on May 1, 1959. The group had Armstrong on trumpet, Trummy Young on trombone, Peanuts Hucko on clarinet, Arvell Shaw on bass, Billy Kyle on piano and Danny Barcelona on drums.
The memory I have of the eventful Armstrong concert in 1959 is that after his opening number, "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," his sextet played, among other compositions, "Muskrat Ramble," "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Tiger Rag."
A "jaded" Armstrong at 57 was electrifying, and the majestic tone of his trumpet was never in doubt. However, his playing did not equal his Hot Five and Seven sides, recorded in the '20s.