Duke Ellington played piano, but it was his intertwined roles as bandleader and composer that propelled him to greatness. He wrote over 1,700 songs, as well as longer orchestral suites and film scores. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new book explores the man behind the music.
Big Band Jazz hits the big music streets this Sunday evening, August 4th at 7 pm. From "Green Dolphin" to "Basin Street" to "Broadway" there's a lot of ground to cover...including a couple of appearances from Louis Armstrong on the 112th anniversary of his birth.
This coming Sunday marks the anniversary of the birth of trumpet virtuoso, singer, and bandleader Louis Armstrong. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the life and legacy of a musician who propelled jazz onto a mainstream stage.
Trumpet virtuoso, singer and bandleader Louis Armstrong propelled jazz onto the mainstream stage, shaping the music with his own distinctive style. Jazz documentary producer Ken Burns says “Armstrong is to music what Einstein is to Physics, and the Wright Brothers are to travel.”
Yet, the man behind the legend is less well known. The Wilma Theater is now staging Satchmo at the Waldorf, a one-man show by Terry Teachout, who is also the Wall Street Journal drama critic and the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. Both the book and the play are informed by audio tapes Armstrong made of his private conversations with friends and family.
Susan Lewis talks with playwright Terry Teachout, actor John Douglas Thompson, and WRTI's Maureen Malloy about Armstrong and his life, and about how the tapes, the book, and the play reveal a different, lesser-known side of the jazz icon.
The virtuosi of Canadian Brass have made the brass quintet an exciting vehicle for serious concert music. The quintet has a long history of recording classical repertoire. They have a special affinity for Baroque music, which requires the musical structure that has become the Canadian Brass' trademark.
Their more than 60 recordings include works by Purcell, Vivaldi, Gabrieli, Pachelbel, Beethoven and Wagner ? all in meticulously crafted transcriptions that are setting new musical traditions in brass performance. They are especially drawn to the works of J.S. Bach.