Sunday, May 8, 2011

Louis Armstrong Plays Vallejo

On this day in 1942 jazz legend Louis Armstrong played at the ballroom of the Casa de Vallejo. That swank hotel, along with the Veteran's Memorial Hall, Farragut Hall, and other local venues, were popular stops for touring jazz and big band acts in the 1930s and 40s. The day before Armstrong's show, the Vallejo Times Herald promoted the concert with the following:

"Onward continues the parade of 'musical giants' in Vallejo as Frank Smith presents America's leaders on the Name Band horizon. Last week it was Paul Whiteman, "King of Jazz." This week it will be Louie [sic] Armstrong "World's Greatest Trumpeter." Armstrong appears in the Casa de Vallejo ballroom Friday evening with his celebrated orchestra. He is not only considered the world's greatest trumpeter but is also the world's highest paid colored musician. He brings with him his entire musical aggregation intact, with a galaxy of "swing" stars including his two famous and sensational vocalists Sonny Woods and Velma Middleton. Other stars with the band are Luis Russell, Paul Barbarin, Jay C. Higginbotham, "Pop" Foster, and Joe Garland. While Armstrong and his troupe have appeared here before, it will be the first appearance locally of his singing star, Velma Middleton. Those who have heard her singing with the band in engagements in Oakland and San Francisco rave about the excellent voice of this singer."


  1. Paul Whiteman, "King of jazz."?????? That must be some kind of joke!!

    Louie Armstrong is the only and eternal King of Jazz!!! That is a FACT.

  2. Maybe so, but in his day Paul Whiteman was the most popular jazz musician in the country.

  3. Um, I wonder why! I have a good idea! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!!