It's time to say happy birthday to Louis Armstrong, who scholars believe was born on Aug. 4. The 11th annual Satchmo SummerFest (Aug. 4-7) kicks off Thursday, and there are parties, a Frenchmen Street club strut, scholarly presentations, films and two days of free live music (noon to 8 p.m.) on two stages at the Old U.S. Mint (400 Esplanade Ave.). Saturday's musical lineup includes Shamarr Allen (pictured) & the Underdawgs, the Jason Marsalis Quartet, the Soul Rebels and Treme brass bands and traditional jazz by Lars Edegran's Ragtime Orchestra, Clive Wilson's New Orleans Serenaders. Tom McDermott and Kevin Clark play music from early in Armstrong's career. On Sunday, catch Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown, Glen David Andrews, the Preservation Hall All-Stars, the New Birth Brass Band and others.
Other festivities include a centennial birthday party for trumpeter Lionel Ferbos. Between musical sets there are dance lessons for jazz, swing and blues by groups including Dancing Man 504, NOLA Jitterbugs and Dance Quarter. The children's crafts area features a second-line umbrella creation station and coconut decorating.
There will be a jazz Mass on Sunday at St. Augustine Church (1210 Gov. Nicholls St.), followed by a second-line parade to the festival.
Satchmo SummerFest's seminars feature scholarly presentations. Ricky Riccardi discusses his new book What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years, and he presents rare film footage of Armstrong performances and interviews. Keynote speaker Richard Havers will play clips from the comprehensive box set of Armstrong recordings being officially released at the festival by Universal Music Group/Verve. For a full list of speakers and events, visit the website. Free admission to most events. — Lora Ghawaly
Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., and other downtown locations, 522-5730; www.fqfi.org