Satchmo at the Waldorf

The other afternoon in the pouring rain Meta and I took the subway downtown to the Westside Theater/Upstairs on 43rd Street to see the one-man show, Satchmo at the Waldorf, staring the great actor John Douglas Thompson.  I recommend it to anyone who loves Louis or is interested in his life in music and his life in show business.  It takes place in Louis' dressing room at the Waldorf Astoria where he was appearing and where he was also staying in a suite during his engagement.  We, the audience, are visiting him after the show and he basically tells us his life story. As a trumpet player who has loved Louis Armstrong since I first saw him on television back in the 1950s, I knew much of the chronology, but to watch Mr. Thompson transform himself into the 71 year old Louis, his manager Joe Glaser, a young newspaper reporter and vignettes of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis is to watch a great artist at work.  By the end of the play Mr. Thompson was Louis Armstrong, and we the audience had been shoveled great heaps of deep insights into the when, why, wherefore and how a dirt-poor Black kid from the Storeyville section of New Orleans became a virtuoso trumpet player, a superb musician, a great jazz soloist, an original vocalist, and a world renown entertainer.  Go see it, but because of the language, don't bring the kids.

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