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Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong

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Celebrating Black History Month

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In celebration of Black History Month, the Society will present a virtual program on one of America’s most celebrated musicians, Louis Armstrong. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of this iconic artist who is known as the first “King of Pop.” On Thursday, February 25, at 6 p.m., historian Ricky Riccardi will join us via Zoom to discuss his recently released book, Heart Full of Rhythm, which examines the middle years of Armstrong’s career. Between 1929 and 1947, the little-known trumpeter from Chicago broke through barriers and became an internationally acclaimed star. Riccardi will discuss the trumpeter’s connections to Georgia, including some of his most famous songs, such as “Georgia on My Mind” and “Atlanta Blues.”

Riccardi is Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, New York. His new book is the second installment of a trilogy on the musician’s life. An earlier book, What a Wonderful World, examined Armstrong’s later life. Riccardi has been an Armstrong fan since the age of 15, when he saw the trumpeter perform in the 1954 movie The Glenn Miller Story. A pianist since the age of seven, Riccardi has been a lifelong collector of Armstrong memorabilia. He earned a master’s degree in jazz history and research from Rutgers University in 2005 before acquiring his position with the Armstrong House Museum. He has co-produced many Armstrong album reissues and teaches a graduate course on the trumpeter at the Louis Armstrong Archives, located at Queens College, City University of New York.

This virtual program is free and open to the public. A Zoom link to the lecture will be sent the week of the event.

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