Back to All Events

Reel to "Real": The Louis Armstrong Collages Opening

Join us on Thursday, November 30 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm for the opening reception of Reel to "Real": The Louis Armstrong Collages.

Louis Armstrong’s reel to reel tape box collages have never been shown in New Orleans before the current display in the New Orleans Jazz Museum. 

Food will be provided by Sucré New OrleansBayou Vegan Cafe, and more TBA! 

Following the reception, Don Paul & Rivers of Dreams offer a free concert in our 3rd floor performing arts center.

Free and open to the public.


Louis Armstrong, nicknamed "Satchmo," a trumpeter and singer born in New Orleans who went on to become one of America's most esteemed jazz musicians and - as its cultural ambassador - introduced jazz to the world, was also a visual artist whose creativity is currently on display in Reel-to-Real: Louis Armstrong Collages at the New Orleans Jazz Museum as a component of Prospect 4, New Orleans' annual, citywide art exhibition.

In the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, a collection of Armstrong's reel-to-reel tape boxes decorated with his handmade collages are on loan from the Louis ArmstrongHouse Museum in Queens, N.Y., where the trumpeter and his wife Lucille lived from 1943 until his death in 1971.

The show includes 28 square tape boxes out of the more than 500-piece collection of boxes and scrapbooks Armstrong created over more than 20 years. His reel-to-reel tapes, recording performances, radio interviews, commentary and other audio, were often gifts to friends and family. Armstrong would glue newspaper clippings, photographs of fellow musicians and movie stars or other ephemera with sentimental quotations onto the box covers.

"They are beautiful, intricate and often humorous works of art," said David Kunian, music curator for the jazz museum.

Some of the images incorporated on the collages include an opening advertisement for The Empire Room, featuring headlining jazz vocalists Della Reese, Connie Stevens, Peggy Lee, as well as Armstrong. Reel #70 features a cartoon with the headline: "Armstrong Wows at Cotton Club and Center."  A telegraph message from song writer and record label owner Otis René who wrote "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," wishes Armstrong good luck at the Hollywood Bowl: "CONGRATULATIONS POP I KNOW YOU WILL KNOCK EM DEAD."

Later Event: November 30
Don Paul & Rivers of Dreams