The annual festival celebrating Louis Armstrong's birthday (Aug. 4) presents traditional and contemporary jazz and brass bands and New Orleans R&B on two stages at the Old U.S. Mint. Friday headliners include Allen Toussaint, John Boutte, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Charmaine Neville, Preservation Hall Brass Band, Don Vappie and the Creole Serenaders and others. Saturday features Ellis Marsalis, Carl LeBlanc, Sharon Martin, Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Treme Brass Band and others. On Sunday, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Wendell Brunious, Jeremy Davenport and others perform and there are dance lessons with the NOLA Jitterbugs. The Swing Dolphins, a Japanese youth jazz band that received instruments from the Tipitina's Foundation after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, performs Saturday.
Inside the Mint, the scholarly portion of the festival features seminars about Louis Armstrong's recordings, filmed appearances, travels and his influence on jazz. One seminar examines the recordings Armstrong kept in his own collection (Miles Davis' interpretation of Porgy and Bess, blue recordings by Redd Foxx) and tapes he made with his own introductions to music he liked. There's also a preview of tracks on the forthcoming nine-CD boxed set Live Recordings of Louis Armstrong and His All Stars (from 1947-1958). Music and seminars are free. Visit the website for details. — WILL COVIELLO