Dr. John & Cyril Neville Being Honored by the Louis Armstrong House

Louis Armstrong House Museum today announced that Dr. John, music icon; Cyril Neville, legendary musician and activist; Jerome Chazen, Chairman of Chazen Capital Partners, Chairman Emeritus of Liz Claiborne, Inc. and Trustee of the Louis Armstrong House Museum; and Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and noted philanthropist and jazz aficionado, will be presented with the ‘Louie Award’ for their dedication to preserving and promoting the cultural legacy of Louis Armstrong at the Museum’s annual gala on December 2, 2015.

The Gala, which will include a special performance by Cyril Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood band, also will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Louis Armstrong’s first professional gig, during which he played the cornet at Henry Ponce’s saloon in New Orleans. Armstrong, who died in 1971 and was known as Satchmo, is widely recognized as a founding father of jazz. He recorded hit songs for five decades, appeared in more than 30 motion pictures, and performed to sold-out concerts across the world. Despite wealth and fame, Armstrong settled in a working class neighborhood in Queens. His former home, perfectly preserved, is now the site of the museum celebrating his legacy.

“Each of our honorees enjoys a very special connection to Louis Armstrong and we are thrilled to honor them at the gala,” said Michael Cogswell, Executive Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “The Museum is routinely visited by school groups, international tourists, domestic tourists, musicians, historic house buffs, and countless others. Louis continues to inspire people everywhere, every day. Just the mention of his name makes people smile.”

Dr. John is a six-time Grammy winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. His career began in the 1950s, where he worked with legends including Professor Longhair. Dr. John headed west in the 1960s as a session musician playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones. During that time he launched his solo career as Dr. John the Night Tripper and recorded his breakthrough 1968 album “Gris-Gris.”

In 2014, Dr. John the Night Tripper’s Music Director Sarah Morrow produced Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit Of Satch, a tribute to Armstrong, with special guests Bonnie Raitt, Ledisi, Anthony Hamilton, Shemekia Copeland, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and trumpeters Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, Arturo Sandoval, Wendell Brunious and James Andrews.

"Louis Armstrong was my hero and an ambassador to the world from New Orleans,” says Dr. John. “He opened the door for all of us. So getting the Louie Award from the Louis Armstrong House Museum on the 100th anniversary of his first gig is slammin’.”

A poet, musician, and artist, Cyril Neville has used music to define the problems of society while giving it a back beat andrhythm that people have been listening and dancing to all around the world for more than four decades. Born in late-’40sNew Orleans as the youngest of the four siblings who would soon define that city’s R&B sound as The Neville Brothers, Cyril absorbed his parents’ vinyl collection and found his own voice when he turned professional at 19.

“As a drummer, I was attached to Satchmo’s use of rhythm in his playing and singing from the first time I heard him,” saysNeville. “So, through the years, just as others like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Bing Crosby have been influenced by him, I've ’borrowed’ heavily from Satchmo in forming my own singing style. I feel that his style of singing is just as impressive and as expressive as his Trumpet style.”

“It is an extreme privilege to be honored by the Louis Armstrong House Museum and to honor Satchmo myself at this great event. I've read that Jazz Music is the only true Art form contributed to the world by America. That means that Louis Armstrong is the Roux of the musical Gumbo that America is still serving to the world. Funkaliciously.”

Previous recipients of the Louie Award include music producer Quincy Jones; comedian Dick Cavet; record producer George Avakian; jazz trumpet player, conductor, composer, and educator Jon Faddis; jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath; City University of New York Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson; novelist Stephen Maitland-Lewis; poet and culture critic Stanley Crouch; and jazz promoter and producer George Wein.

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