Wynton Marsalis Takes Louis Armstrong’s Trumpet Out of the Museum & Plays It Again

in Music | May 25th, 2016

Louis Armstrong’s beloved trumpet sits in the Smithsonian–a relic of a grand tradition of American music. When it first became a museum piece, the brass-and-gold instrument, made in Paris after World War II, wasn’t in working condition. Dwandalyn Reece, the culture curator at The Smithsonian, notes:  “It wasn’t playable when it got here… There was a lacquer coating on it to help prevent tarnish. We looked to see if there were any spots where the lacquer impacted the valves. There were areas where the valves were a little sticky so we wanted to make sure they would flow freely.” Once restored, they put the instrument in the right hands. Above, watch Wynton Marsalis, the nine-time Grammy winner, playing Satchmo’s Selmer trumpet last fall.

Marsalis later commented, “It sounded better than I thought it would sound.” Apparently, it’s the first time an historic instrument from the Smithsonian’s collection has been put back into real service.

via The Smithsonian/@TedGioia

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  1. Charles Kemp says . . .
    July 12, 2016 / 9:23 am

    I didn’t know that Louis Armstrong’s trumpet is in the Smithsonian. He inspired a lot of people and there are a lot of people that would love to have a trumpet as good as that one. I think it would be cool to learn from the best trumpet player.

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