About The Louis Armstrong Jazz Oral History Project

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of four major research centers of The New York Public Library, is the world's leading publicly accessible research institution for the study of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. Among the jazz holdings of the Center are tens of thousands of sound recordings, retrievable by individual performer (including side musicians), song title, composer and arranger, stored on a computer database; recordings of thirty years of meetings of the New York Chapter of The Duke Ellington Society; thousands of photographs; 84 reels of microfilm containing long runs of 240 jazz periodical titles from around the world, currently being indexed; clipping files from the international press; numerous sheet music titles; the Ernie Smith Collection of Jazz and Dance Film; and the personal papers of Alberta Hunter, Don Redman and others.

During the 1990s, under the Louis Armstrong Jazz Oral History Project (funded by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.), the Center has:

  • conducted video oral history interviews with Nat Adderley, Doc Cheatham, Jon Faddis, Art Farmer, Jimmy Heath, Milt Hinton, Yusef Lateef, Abbey Lincoln, Marian McPartland, Coleridge- Taylor Perkinson, Larry Ridley, Warren Smith, Grady Tate, Arthur Taylor, Clark Terry, Leon Thomas, Charles Tolliver, Tommy Turrentine, McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston and numerous others.
  • sponsored concert performance programs (in our Langston Hughes Auditorium) with Dr. Billy Taylor on The History of Jazz through Piano; Max Roach with M'Boom; the Duke Ellington Orchestra (conducted by Mercer Ellington) in a program entitled: Rockin' in Rhythm: A Retrospective of the Music of Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington; McCoy Tyner in Solo Piano Concert; and an episode of NPR's Piano Jazz with host Marian McPartland and special guest Geri Allen.
  • become a repository for the complete interviews conducted by Jean Bach for her landmark film, A Great Day in Harlem.
  • rescued the filmed outtakes of Bert Stern's Jazz on a Summer's Day (from a storage warehouse in Spain); included in this rare footage from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival are Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Chico Hamilton, Mahalia Jackson, Big Maybelle, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Sonny Stitt, Dinah Washington and others.

Watch clips and some full-length videos online. Or, call (212) 491-2236 to make an on-site appointment to view full-length interviews not available online.

About Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.

Louis Armstrong's death on 6 July 1971 created waves of mourning over the entire world. His playing, his singing and his joyful persona were known in every corner of the globe. From fans behind the Iron Curtain to European royalty. From the smallest African village to virtually every man, woman and child in the United States.

In 1974, at the behest of the United States State Department, and in response to requests from behind the Iron Curtain, Lucille Armstrong embarked on a government-sponsored tour of Hugary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, conducting a program of slides, films, and music tapes highlighting her late husband's life. She left albums, books, and other memorobilia to schools and embassy libraries.

Lucille Armstorng died in 1983 and left her estate and assets to the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, with the request that their house be given to the City of New York.

The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc., founded in 1969, is dedicated to:

  • fostering programs, workshops and lectures on music history.
  • assisting and contributing to programs and events for education in music by organizations such as schools and libraries.
  • spnsoring programs at all school levels that aid the students in developing musical skills.
  • participating in scholarships, student exchanges, and grants.

The Foundation contributes to and supports the following:

  • Queens College with annual grants for the maintenance of the Louis Armstrong home in Corona, Queens—a National Landmark—and to preserve the house as a memorial to Sachmo.
  • The Louis Armstrong Schools in Queens, Public School 143 and Intermediate School 227, for musical education, jazz workshops, and the school libraries.
  • Brandeis University in Massachusettes for an annual jazz concert and education in music.
  • The ASCAP Foundation for programs, including seminars, talent contests and workshops, supervised by musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor.
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with a gift to establish an extensive audio and visual library of interviews and performances of jazz musicians interpreting their own work.