Swing U / Fall Virtual Term - Mack the Knife: The Genius of Louis Armstrong's Later Years

Jazz at Lincoln Center


(212) 258-9922


All Access Pass, $275.00; Single Class, $10.00

Event Dates

Oct 07, 2021

Oct 14, 2021

Oct 21, 2021

Oct 28, 2021

Nov 04, 2021

Nov 11, 2021


Thursdays, 7:00pm

Jazz at Lincoln Center


A brilliant Town Hall appearance in 1947 kicked off a stunning run for Louis Armstrong, who in his late 40s enjoyed a career renaissance as he began touring with a new group, The All-Stars! Subsequent work in the 1950s would yield some career-defining albums, a pop hit with “Mack the Knife,” a genuine chart-topping hit with “Hello Dolly!,” as well as many other era-defining moments. Join Ricky Riccardi as he takes you on a tour of Louis Armstrong’s late-career.

Swing U classes will be available to re-watch on-demand up to 7 days after airing.

Please note that a link to access your nightly classes will be found in the confirmation email you receive with your order. Nightly classes do not stream from this page.


WEEK 1 • OCT 7 – 1947-1951   REGISTER

This in-depth course on Louis Armstrong’s later years begins in the important transitional year of 1947, when success at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall inspired Armstrong to break up his big band and form a small group, the All Stars. Boasting Hall of Fame musicians such as Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines and Sid Catlett, Armstrong began hitting new peaks of popularity with his international tours and pop hits like “Blueberry Hill” and “La Vie En Rose.”

WEEK 2 • OCT 14 – 1952-1955   REGISTER

Though the initial members of the All Stars eventually departed, that didn’t stop Armstrong from rebuilding the sextet into an even more exciting ensemble, thanks to the addition of Trummy Young, Billy Kyle and Barney Bigard. With this lineup in place, Armstrong recorded masterpieces such as “Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy” and “Satch Plays Fats,” both of which will be discussed in this installment of the course.

WEEK 3 • OCT 21 – 1955-1957   REGISTER

With Edmond Hall now on clarinet and with Armstrong himself stronger than ever on trumpet, the All Stars entered their “Ambassador Satch” phase, traveling the globe, including headline-making stops in Europe and Africa. In the studio, Armstrong tackled his past with “Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography” and the seminal “Ella and Louis” albums. And after years of being criticized for being soft on issues of race, Armstrong put his career on the line to speak out against injustice in Little Rock.

WEEK 4 • OCT 28 – 1958-1963   REGISTER

As he approaches his 60s, Armstrong is momentarily felled but a heart attack, but doesn’t stop his globe-trotting, including stopping a civil war in the Congo in 1960. He also continues to challenge himself in the studio, collaborating with everyone from Oscar Peterson to Duke Ellington to Dave Brubeck to the Dukes of Dixieland. And just as it seems that his career finally seems to be slowing down, Armstrong shocks the world with his number one hit single, “Hello, Dolly!”.

WEEK 5 • NOV 11 – 1964-1971   REGISTER

The popularity of “Hello, Dolly!” leads Armstrong to a new pinnacle of popularity as he continues touring nonstop, including a historic trip behind the Iron Curtain. As the 1960s roll on, Armstrong begins to finally wear down, ending up in intensive care in 1969. Still, he remains determined to go out on his shield and heroically performs until the very end, passing away in July 1971. This installment will be heavy on rare footage of the trumpeter in his final years—keep some tissues nearby!