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Catalog Number 2014.48.1
Title Bill Russell Papers from Williams Research Center
Object Type Papers, Personal
Collection Satchmo Collection
Description Folder of Louis Armstrong-related papers copied from the Bill Russell Collection of the Williams Research Center in New Orleans in August 2015. Contents include:

Transcription of a conversation Russell had with Armstrong in Chicago on November 29, 1953. Armstrong talks about Baby Dodds; musicians shouldn't drink alcohol; eating Chinese food; refusing to publish his autobiography "Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans" until Joe Glaser lets him put in a chapter about marijuana; 1931 arrest with Vic Berton; marijuana is better than alcohol; Jack Teagarden "is a sad case"; Bisma Rex and Pluto Water; divorce with Alpha Smith; fighting with Alpha Smith (Louis admits hitting her); Black Benny; Earl Hines; never using Earl Hines and Zutty Singleton again; All Stars clique with Hines, Cozy Cole and Arvell Shaw refusing to sign autographs; "Hines just hates everybody"; complains about Lionel Hampton's band; complains about Jimmie Lunceford and Cab Calloway just waving batons; stories about 1953 aborted tour with Benny Goodman; Goodman not wanting Velma Middleton to do splits; Lil Hardin Armstrong in Paris; Cozy Cole rushing the tempo and fighting with Louis; Bert Williams; buying opera records (mentinos Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Luisa Tetrazzini); Erskine Tate; "Cavalleria Rusticana"; "Laughin' Louie" recording where Louis interpolates melody from playing for silent movies. Ends with Russell listing tunes Armstrong was playing at the Blue Note.

Russell's notes on visiting Louis at the Chicago Theatre on February 16, 23, 25, and March 4, 1954. Russell visited Armstrong each time with trumpeter Natty Dominque and took four pages of handwritten notes. Russell writes about Louis's routine at the Chicago Theatre, warming up and on stage; Louis switching to a German trumpet and liking it better than his French Selmers; Louis story about playing "Wild Man Blues" at the Sunset Cafe; Louis telling the All Stars "Boys put your muzzles on"; and more.

Four pages of Russell's handwritten notes on visiting Barney Bigard at the Chicago Theatre on February 16 and 23, 1954. Bigard sicusses Albert system clarinets; Alphonse Picou not being able to play anymore; Bigard's wish that New Orleans get "modernized" ("the entire French Quarter should be torn down"); Barney playing off the lead sheet of a song Natty Dominique brought him; Bigard asks Dominique to bring him "a jug"; Bigard complimented Benny Carter; tells story about Rex Stewart being unable to cut it as a Hollywood studio musician; Bigard complains that Trummy Young plays too loud; talk about Kid Ory; Bigard praises Louis.

Eight pages of Russell's handwritten notes on visiting Louis at the Blue Note in Chicago in July 1954. Russell lists all the tunes Louis played during the engagement. Louis celebrating his birthday on July 4. Kenny John being fried for either alcohol or drugs. Russell draws the band set-up each night and discusses the performances. Sitting at intermission with Barney Bigard and Natty Dominique. Conversation with Louis about how "his heart was still in New Orleans music." Louis raves about making the album "Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy" for George Avakian while in Chicago. Louis talks about Sidney Bechet, who was in the hospital. Armstrong talks about how "serious and businesslike" he is about music, to the point where some musicians get mad at him for his "all-business attitude when he stepped on the stand." Louis only getting drunk twice in his life (once when leaving Fletcher Henderson's band). Barney Bigard talks about Louis using the upstairs dressing room to smoke marijuana. Natty Dominique talks about how Lil Hardin "was still the best of Louie's wives & he expected him to end up wth her someday, back on 44th St."

Letter from Armstrong to Russell on October 3, 1939, mentioning just having played Carnegie Hall, praising his book "Jazzmen" and discussing Bunk Johnson. Mentions playing with Benny Goodman.

Letter from Armstrong to Russell on October 22, 1939, praising his book "Jazzmen."

Letter from Armstrong to Russell on September 25, 1942, praising "Jazzmen" again again and wanting him to osend copies to some of his friends. Louis relates a joke about a white man and black man going to the electric chair. Ends letter by discussing his upcoming marriage to Lucille Wilson and and jokes about having multiple kids with her and naming one after Russell.

Photocopy of Louis's 1944 Christmas card to Russell.

Letter from Louis to Tom Bethell on March 7, 1970 all about Buddy Petit and playing Petit's funeral.

Transcription of telephone conversation between Russell and Armstrong on May 5, 1970 about Louis's relationship with Jelly Roll Morton including how "Wild Man Blues" was composed. Louis mentions the Melrose brothers, never playing with Jelly Roll, E. A. Fearn of OKeh Records, reviewing the Alan Lomax book "Mr. Jelly Roll ," appearing on the Mike Douglas Show, Buddy Petit and more.
Year Range from 1939
Year Range to 1970
Accession number 2014.48