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

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

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Clean­est Record­ings of 1920s Louis Arm­strong Songs You’ll Ever Hear

1,000 Hours of Ear­ly Jazz Record­ings Now Online: Archive Fea­tures Louis Arm­strong, Duke Elling­ton & Much More

Watch the Ear­li­est Known Footage of Louis Arm­strong Per­form­ing Live in Con­cert (Copen­hagen, 1933)

Louis Arm­strong Plays Trum­pet at the Egypt­ian Pyra­mids; Dizzy Gille­spie Charms a Snake in Pak­istan

Louis Arm­strong Plays His­toric Cold War Con­certs in East Berlin & Budapest (1965)

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  • Charles Kemp says:

    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.

  • Elaine Lauzon says:

    So good to hear it again! What a man Louie was! Wyn­nton Marsalis did him great hon­our! Thanks so much!

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