elvis costello, ambassador of jazz, louis armstrong
On November 29, the British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello used his website to dissuade fans from buying his own new boxed set, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, noting that its suggested retail price of $329.99 "appears to be either a misprint or a satire." Instead, his message urged them to make a different purchase. "If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving," he wrote, "we can whole-heartedly recommend, Ambassador Of Jazz - a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name 'Satchmo' but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis Armstrong. The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior."
Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz was released by Universal through its United Kingdom imprint in August 2011 in honor of Louis Armstrong's 110th birthday celebration. The set has received limited distribution in the United States and is currently out of stock on Amazon.com, where individual owners have sold the box for nearly $400. The Louis Armstrong House Museum recently purchased every remaining copy from its North American distributor and has become the only place where you can walk in and buy this acclaimed collection for $149.99.
This holiday season is a special time for the museum. After providing services and programs for 25 years, LAHM will hold its first gala on Tuesday, December 6. "Every cent we raise will go to fund operations," says LAHM Executive Director Michael Cogswell, "including our historic house tours, free children's concerts and performances, and making the archives accessible to the public at no charge." A who's who of the jazz and cultural world is expected to attend. The event will honor veteran record producer George Avakian, trumpeter Jon Faddis, and Queens College President James Muyskens. Gala tickets, sponsorships, and journal ads are available by calling Development Officer Nayelli DiSpaltro at 718-997-3589.
Celebrate at Louis's House
In addition to its inaugural gala, LAHM will feature historic holiday house tours this season. The house will be brightly decorated in keeping with the traditions of Louis and his wife, Lucille. The tours, led by a trained museum docent, feature audio clips from Louis' homemade recordings, including a rare at-home reading, by Louis Armstrong himself, of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz
Unlike other boxed-sets, the ten-CD Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz features material licensed from both Universal (Decca, Verve, Mercury) and Sony (Columbia, Okeh, RCA Victor), making it the only comprehensive collection that contains material from all the major labels Armstrong worked with throughout his six-decade career. Beginning with his earliest recordings with King Oliver in 1923 and ending with live performances of some of his best-loved tunes at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1970, Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz includes all of Armstrong's signature repertoire, such as "West End Blues," "Heebie Jeebies," "Star Dust," "When You're Smiling," "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "La Vie En Rose," "Mack the Knife," "Blueberry Hill," "Hello, Dolly," and "What a Wonderful World."
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