One of the most celebrated and beloved jazz musicians, trumpeter and vocalist Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong (1901–1971), had hit recordings for 50 years, appeared in more than 30 motion pictures, and performed all over the world. His music is still heard everywhere today, yet few people know of his life outside the spotlight. After the death of Armstrong’s wife, Lucille, in 1983, archivists were astonished to find that their Queens, New York, house held a treasure trove of home-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, photographs, scrapbooks, papers, gold-plated trumpets, and more. These materials have been preserved in the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College while the Armstrong house undergoes renovation before opening as a national historic museum in the fall of 2003. LOUIS ARMSTRONG: THE OFFSTAGE Story OF SATCHMO is the official guide to the stunning collection of the Louis Armstrong House & Archive. It includes a wealth of original autobiographical manuscripts, candid photos, and transcripts from the musician’s private recordings—published here for the first time.
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MICHAEL COGSWELL was hired by Queens College in 1991 to arrange, preserve, and catalog the collections of the Louis Armstrong Archives. In 1995 the college asked him to lead the project to open the Louis Armstrong House as a museum. Mr. Cogswell has made presentations about Louis Armstrong in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, San Francisco, Milan, Lyon, and Bern, and he has appeared on NPR’s "Fresh Air," ABC-TV’s Nightline, and CBS Sunday Morning. He lives in New York City.From Booklist:
This is the "official book" of the Louis Armstrong House and Archives, marking its October 15, 2003, grand opening as a national historic museum. That is to say, it is a souvenir book. But what a souvenir book! One culmination of Cogswell's 12-year labor of ordering and cataloging the great jazzman's belongings, it is loaded with some 300 previously unpublished photographs of the trumpeter and his associates; of the house, inside and out; and of letters, other writings, and the collages of photos and clippings that Armstrong created in his spare time. Cogswell presents these in chapters devoted to Armstrong's career, the house, the archives, and "Discoveries"--that is, things that record forgotten and underdocumented aspects of Armstrong's life. Sections within each chapter home in on particular topics, making for an exceptionally browsable book, for which Cogswell's plain writing is pretty much ideal. An invaluable, keenly lovable treasure-trove about a great American, marred only by far too many typos. Ray Olson
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