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Celebrate A Cool Yule With Louis Armstrong Holiday Gifts And His First-Ever Christmas Album

Now, Armstrong's holiday cheer is available to everyone with several Armstrong-themed gift items from The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.

Celebrate A Cool Yule With Louis Armstrong Holiday Gifts And His First-Ever Christmas Album

When the world-renowned jazz icon Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was on tour, he would always put up a small Christmas tree in the hotel he and his wife Lucille were staying. When they were home for the holidays, they would lavishly display their Corona Queens home with decorations, sing carols, recite The Night Before Christmas, and Armstrong sent friends his homemade holiday cards, made in his genius, down home style.

Now, Armstrong's holiday cheer is available to everyone with several Armstrong-themed gift items from The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. (LAEF), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1969 to perpetuate the legacies of Louis and Lucille Armstrong throughout the world by supporting musicians, jazz education, performances and programming.

You can put Satchmo on your tree with the purchase of four custom-curated glass ornaments in blue, green, red and white; they are 3.25" in diameter, featuring 2" printed text, "What a Wonderful World" on the front, and the iconic Armstrong trademark on the back for $29.98.

Other gift items include a selection of Armstrong apparel, featuring white and navy blue short and long sleeve t-shirts, ranging from $30 to $60, a $30.00 fleece, zip up hoodie, white mugs for $15.00 and a $30.00, tote bag. All items feature an image of Armstrong with a trumpet, in Santa clothes with the words, "Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule."

That phrase, Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule, is also the title of a new compilation of Armstrong's timeless holiday-associated selections, mostly from Decca Records in the 1950's. This compendium showcases Armstrong's towering trumpet and gravelly voice on 11 selections with orchestral and big band arrangements. More than 50 years after his passing, the legendary entertainer is back on the charts with the release of his first-ever Christmas album, Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule (Verve/UMe).

The collection debuted in the Top 10 across multiple Billboard charts (dated Nov. 26), including Top Holiday Albums where it bowed at No. 9 and launches in the top 10 on Jazz Albums (No. 4), Traditional Jazz Albums (No. 4), Top Album Sales (No. 7), Top Current Album Sales (No. 6) and Vinyl Albums (No. 7). It debuted at No. 122 on the Billboard 200, becoming Armstrong's highest charting album since Hello Dolly spent six weeks at No. 1 in 1964.

Armstrong and the studio group, known as The Commanders, swing on the Gordon Jenkins-arranged, "Cool Yule," with lyrics by comedian Steve Allen, "Winter Wonderland," "'Zat You Santa Claus?" and Irving Berlin's evergreen ballad "White Christmas." Another arranger, the legendary Benny Carter, provides a moving, musical magic carpet for Armstrong's artistry on "Christmas in New Orleans," "Christmas Night in Harlem," and the ballad "Moments to Remember."

Armstrong sings some zesty duets with Ella Fitzgerald on "I've Got My Love to Keep You Warm," and Velma Middleton on "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Although Armstrong's signature song, "What a Wonderful World" is not technically a holiday song, it has been adopted as one by Armstrong fans worldwide.

The most special selection on this recording is a never-before released reading by Armstrong of Samuel Clement Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," AKA "The Night Before Christmas." The track is Armstrong's last recording before he died, and through the magic of technology, New Orleans pianist Sullivan Fortner accompanies Armstrong with his brilliant and ebullient piano flourishes.

The recording is available in CD, Red Vinyl, Picture Disc and Digital formats, from $9.98 to $29.98. The album also features new liner notes from GRAMMY-Award winning historian, Ricky Riccardi, author of two Armstrong biographies Heart Full of Rhythm and What a Wonderful World, and Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

Fans can also order a specially-priced bundle, consisting of a Navy Blue T-shirt, the What a Wonderful World Ornaments and the Red Vinyl version of Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule for $80. Also featured is a special video of Armstrong and Fitzgerald's "I've Got My Love to Keep You Warm," produced by director and animator, JonJon.

Louis Armstrong said that he was here, "in the cause of happiness," and these yuletide offerings are excellent extensions of his noble mission. Founded by Louis and Lucille Armstrong in 1969, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation funds organizations supporting jazz musicians, educators, and students. In the last 10 years alone, the organization has given over $8 million to these various groups. Those wishing to join LAEF in this effort in a more substantive way as a collaborator should email director@louisarmstrongfoundation.org.

Louis Armstrong, iconic trumpeter and singer, is the foundation of jazz and of American musical virtuosity in the 20th Century. His earliest recordings taught musicians how to improvise and sing jazz, blues, the American Popular Song and all styles of American vernacular music. His discoveries gave listeners around the world a new way to experience music, and his way of "being natural" in public created another understanding of what it meant to be human. Pops, his nickname which was also the name he called everyone, was a man of the people and all walks of life were given a seat of welcome at his and Lucille's table. In addition to his legendary artistry, he established this foundation to ensure that future generations would be taught to play and appreciate the art of jazz. From 1943 to the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong was a resident of Corona, Queens, where he enjoyed traveling across the New York boroughs performing and listening to music.



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