Satchmo SummerFest grows to three days

The 13th annual Satchmo SummerFest, presented by Chevron, returns Friday through Sunday at the Old U.S. Mint.

Inspired by, dedicated to and named after jazz great Louis Armstrong, the festival expands this year to three days with a full day of Friday performances.

Satchmo SummerFest features traditional and contemporary jazz, brass band music and music seminars at the Mint. Festival-goers can also visit the Mint’s new Fats Domino exhibit and its “Preservation Hall at 50.”

The festival’s opening reception and keynote conversation, featuring musician Wycliffe Gordon, is Thursday at the Hotel Monteleone. Reception tickets can be purchased at www.fqfi.org or by calling the French Quarter Festivals Inc. office at (504) 522-5730. This year’s Satchmo SummerFest performers include Gordon, Ellis Marsalis, John Boutte, the Preservation Hall Brass Band, Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders, the Treme Brass Band and, making his SummerFest debut with a solo performance, singer-songwriter, pianist and producer Allen Toussaint.

“When we decided to expand the festival,” said Greg Schatz, Summerfest entertainment manager, “we thought Friday’s lineup has to be strong. Allen helps make that a reality. We’re not only excited to have him in the lineup, we also know how lucky we are to have him.”

Toussaint, who is strongly identified with classic New Orleans rhythm and blues, greatly admires the generation of jazz pioneers that includes Armstrong, Edward “Kid” Ory, Joe “King” Oliver” and Sidney Bechet.

“They were doing something very special in the stair steps of music evolution,” Toussaint said. “Music is about this journey and what an important place they were in that journey. It’s all a New Orleans thing, as far as I’m concerned, and it went to the whole world.”