Saturday, November 8, 2014

Before Apollo Begins Its New Orleans to Harlem Jazz Weekend It Gives Louis Armstrong His Due

Michelle Miller, Second Line umbrella in hand, talks to the crowd outside of the Apollo Theater. Standing behind her is Stefon Harris who performed later at the Apollo Music Cafe. Photos by Yours Truly.

NEW Orleans is in the house at the Apollo Theater! And, no doubt, the joint will be jumpin' tonight as it was last night to the sounds of Irvin Mayfield Jr., the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) and friends.

Friday night's concert was preceded by the Louis Armstrong Apollo Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony. This bit of jollification jump started the Apollo's New Orleans to Harlem Jazz Weekend.

The occasion was met with fanfare in the form of a Mardi Gras second line parade and enthusiastic speechifying by IM. Also at the mic was Robin Bell-Stevens of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and Jazzmobile. (;

Having her say, too, was Michelle Miller, a Big Easy native, former first lady of that city and current CBS correspondent. Herself greeted the crowd with a spirited Laissez les bons temps rouler! (See video above and below).

The Armstrong plaque will join those bearing such august names as James Brown, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Celia Cruz and Chuck Jackson, out on the sidewalk and cutting a debonair figure in dark suit and bright pink scarf.

The festivities also marked the reveal of the enshrined plaques of the latter two legends. It is not yet clear where outside the famed front doors of the Apollo that the Satchmo plaque will be laid in to rest.

Louis Armstrong is the new kid on the block on the Apollo Walk of Fame.

According to the Apollo's pr, “the Walk of Fame is a relatively new addition to the landmark Apollo and represents a new way for New Yorkers and tourists to be introduced to the Theater and to discover what the Apollo has contributed to American popular culture.”

Indeed, the Apollo is on a campaign to inform the world that there is far more to it than its famous and infamous amateur night. The Apollo Music Cafe, the venue of tonight's two remaining shows of the weekend, is also part of that information campaign.

On the bill at 8 is IMJr. and NOJO featuring Aaron Neville. The 10 o'clock lineup is Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse featuring Jon Batiste and select NOJO members.

Hard to imagine that the joint won't be jumpin'.

Visit to learn more about the Apollo Theater, including tonight's concert information and a list of events and programs.

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