For immediate release
April 25, 2000
NPR CELEBRATES LOUIS ARMSTRONG'S CENTENNIAL
13-Week Series Explores Legendary Fifty-Year Career
WASHINGTON, DC- This summer, NPR® presents "Satchmo: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong," an unprecedented 13-week centennial tribute to jazz master and American icon Louis Armstrong. Heard on NPR member stations as part of the Jazz Profiles® documentary series, each one-hour program presents a variety of original and archival interviews, performances, and history about the legendary Armstrong. In honor of what would have been Louis Armstrong's 100th birthday on July 4th, the series is a powerful exposition of his fifty-year career, from his seminal work in the 20's through his popular releases in the 60's. Overall, this thirteen part special series provides an unparalleled radio tribute to the wonderful world Armstrong created.
Transcending racial barriers with the force of his talent and his charismatic personality, Louis Armstrong became an American cultural icon recognized around the world. With a gravelly voice that seemed to rumble up from the center of the earth and complete mastery of a musical range on the trumpet, he is one of the few artists in music history who made as great an impact with his voice as with his instrument. He even knocked The Beatles from number one on Billboard's Top Forty with his version of "Hello Dolly." His phenomenal rendition of "What a Wonderful World" continues to resonate in popular culture worldwide.
On the uniqueness of the series, Murray Horwitz, NPR's Vice President of Cultural Programming, said, "Louis Armstrong is arguably the most important American cultural figure of the 20th century. This series not only tells us why, it also manages to capture the joy, the spirit, and the boundless humanity that were Armstrong's."
"Satchmo: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong" will begin airing during the week of Armstrong's self-proclaimed July 4th birthday, highlighting extraordinary sound clips and recordings, including the voices of people who knew him, worked with him and were influenced by him. Listeners will hear rare archival interviews with Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima and Bing Crosby, among others. Recent interviews for this series include those with Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Gary Giddins, Nicholas Peyton and some twenty other influential musicians, friends, writers, historians, and scholars. New York Daily News writer and former 60 Minutes commentator Stanley Crouch will host the series. Jazz Profiles' regular host, Nancy Wilson will introduce each show with an engaging overview. "Satchmo: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong" is a co-production of NPR and The Luce Group, in association with WRTI-FM, Philadelphia. The Executive Producer for this series is Jim Luce and the Executive Producer for Jazz Profiles® is the Peabody Award-winning Tim Owens.
Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR reaches a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week via more than 644 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR WorldwideSM, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.