Thursday, June 3, 2021

New Virtual Jazz Education Series from Metuchen Arts Council and NJ Jazz Society

Louis Armstrong 101: The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong

WHEN: 3 p.m., Sunday, June 13
live streamed 
on the New Jersey Jazz Society website,, as well as the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel
 free, but donations are encouraged. To register, log onto

“Countless fans know Louis Armstrong as the beloved singer behind iconic recordings such as ‘What a Wonderful World’ and ‘Hello Dolly,’ but he was also arguably the most influential musician of the 20th century.” 

That’s the central theme of a virtual presentation to be made by Ricky Riccardi (above, with Armstrong's trumpet), Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum. The live streamed event is the initial presentation in a new Jazz Education Series, jointly sponsored by the Metuchen Arts Council-Jazz and the New Jersey Jazz Society.

Riccardi, a resident of Toms River, NJ, is also the author of two books about Armstrong—Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong (Oxford University Press: 2020) and What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years (Pantheon Books: 2011). Will Friedwald, writing in London Jazz News, called Heart Full of Rhythm, “an all-encompassing, vividly detailed biographical portrait of one of the richest careers in all of music.” 

Future Jazz Education presentations will be: 

  • July 18, “Jeru’s Journey: The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan” by Sanford Josephson, author of Mulligan’s biography of the same name and Editor of Jersey Jazz Magazine
  • September 19, “Nat King Cole@100 (NKC100)" by Will Friedwald, music writer and author of Straighten Up & Fly Right: The Life & Music of Nat King Cole 
  • October 18, “An Informal Survey of the Great Baritone Saxophonists” by baritone saxophonist Frank Basile, a member of the Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band
  • November 21,  “Ellington and Strayhorn: Alone and Together” by David Hajdu, Columbia University Professor, Music Critic for The Nation, and author of Lush Life, a biography of Billy Strayhorn. One additional program will be announced later.

The Metuchen Arts Council’s mission is to enhance the life of its citizenry by promoting culturally enriching programs and events that foster an appreciation for the arts as a source of enjoyment, cultural understanding, education, and uplift. 

The New Jersey Jazz Society is dedicated to promoting and preserving America’s original art form—jazz. The Society seeks to ensure continuity of the jazz art form through its commitment to nurturing and championing local talent, showcasing outstanding national and international artists, and providing for the younger generation via arts education programs.