How the War Spread Jazz Music: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong at the WWII Museum

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The history of modern music and jazz is considerable. The National WWII Museum has a new live musical tribute that honors the influence of New Orleans jazz and the legacy of Louis Armstrong titled: Swing that Music, a tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Jazz is the product of many. It is also a product of enslaved Africans and free colored Creoles interacting musically in New Orleans, Louisiana, before the Civil War.

In 1941, the United States entered World War II. When American soldiers entered Europe and Asia, so did American music.

Wendell Brunious is a renowned band conductor and trumpeter and leads the band in the tune for the WWII Museum’s tribute to Louis Armstrong. Brunious thinks it was the dotted eighth note, followed by a sixteenth note that rocked jazz around the world, saying, “That’s the main thing, the swing!” Boo be doo uh, Boo be doo uh uh. This thing only speaks to your soul, regardless of your nationality! “

Tom Hook is an accomplished conductor and pianist and quite a historian, saying, “Jazz is the ultimate expression of the American spirit. He was transferred because of the first two world wars. During World War I, the Department of the Navy closed Storyville in New Orleans because so many soldiers heading to France were arriving through New Orleans with something they did not have. This was where jazz was located and played, in Storyville. That music then had to move to another location and a lot of these guys went upstream to Chicago. These musicians and soldiers picked up this music when they went to Europe in 1917 and beyond and the jazz era began. The original Dixieland jazz group went to Europe when jazz was popular in 1917 and performed for the Queen of England. Musicians began to spread this new sound around the world, following the First World War. During World War II, the US military recorded V records which were sent to the troops as moral stimulants.

By the 1940s jazz had taken off, with big bands providing the festive music of the country, and few could lead a group with as much character as Louis Armstrong.

Wendell Brunious knows all styles of jazz and the traditional New Orleans jazz style. Brunious has the honor of musically representing Louis Armstrong during the show. “When you try to do Louis’ stuff, the first thing you learn is that you can’t do it. It is such an honor to pay tribute to him because he is number one, ”says Brunious.

The world wars played a crucial role in the spread of jazz. Jazz was born in New Orleans. The National WWII Museum resides in New Orleans.

Swing That Music: Tribute to Louis Armstrong, takes place at the museum’s BB’s Stage Door Canteen.

Tom Hook says the musicians in the show have a responsibility to have a good time, tell the story of Louis Armstrong, and introduce young people to jazz music.

“We talk a lot on the Louis Armstrong Impact show. We’re trying to get the message across of who he was and how important he was, not just to New Orleans, but to American culture in general, ”says Hook.

One of the songs the tribute group will perform is called Azalea. It is sentimental music between the pianist and the trumpet.

“Duke Ellington wrote this song and then gave the music to Louis Armstrong. Armstrong made an interpretation of it. It is believed that at the end of the recording Duke Ellington laid his head on the piano and cried. Louis Armstrong had given so much to this song that Duke had written. It’s pretty much the greatest tribute you can get, ”says Brunious.

The first Louis Armstrong tribute jazz performance takes place at the National WWII Museum on October 22. To purchase tickets, click here.

Ada J. Kenney