This past Saturday was the fifth annual Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World festival.
The festival is an eclectic mix of musical acts and genres who represented Louis Armstrong's philosophy that people should listen to ALL kinds of music. The all-day gathering was scheduled to take place at Flushing Medows-Corona Park which was in the same vicinity of Armstrong's residence when he was living in Queens. However various weather advisories of a terrible storm hitting the Northeast forced event organizers to call an audible and relocate to the Kupferberg Center for the Arts located on the Queens College campus.
Jeffrey Rosenstock making his opening address Taylor Hill/Getty Images
The show kicked off with words from Queens College Assistant Vice President & City Council Rep Jeffery Rosenstock. The brief but endearing speech also served as an introduction to the opening act AMAYO'S FU ARKIST RA. AMAYO'S FU ARKIST RA's music and stage show can be classified as an Asian inspired visual set to the soundtrack of Nigerian Afro-beat. The pulsating energetic vibrations made for an unexpected yet ascetically fulfilling contrast to the fluid motions of the martial arts artist whose routined could have been labeled as an interpretive dance.
AMAYO'S FU-ARKIST-RA Taylor Hill/Getty Images
The party atmosphere was kicked into overdrive courtesy of the legendary New Orleans eight piece brass band The Soul Rebels. They have worked with such acts as The Roots, Robert Glasper, and even Metallica. Queens College suddenly became Bourbon Street with people dancing in the aisles and sporting Mardi Gras beads. The brass behemoths electrified the crowd with their original tunes and renditions of Hip Hop jams from the likes of Nas, Lauryn Hill, and Kendrick Lamar. The Soul Rebels acted as the perfect appetizer to get the crowd ready for Hip Hop's resident foodie, Action Bronson.
Check out our Facebook Live Interview with The Soul Rebels
The opening notes of "Let Me Breathe" followed by a distinct voice were the catalysts to hoards of hipsters, backpackers, and everyone in between rushing to the front of the stage. Emerging from the offside was a massive physique that can be seen in abundance on the Viceland network. Queens native Action Bronson aka Bam Bam aka Mr. Baklava is now holding court.
Action BronsonTaylor Hill/Getty Images
Every word rapped into his microphone was mimicked flawlessly by the raucous hometown crowd. After a few songs, Bronson makes his way into the crowd and a controlled pandemonium ensues. Legions of fans armed with "F*CK, That's Delicious" cookbooks and camera phones flocked to Bronson as he stood in the midst of the adulation while reciprocating the love to his die-hard fans. After 10 minutes of this impromptu meet and greet, Bronson makes his way back to stage to finish up his set. The energy is at a fever pitch by the time Bronson goes into his closing number "Easy Rider". After shouting out the crowd he flips his microphone in the air and leaves the stage holding one fist in the air as if he just hit a home run in Game 7 of The World Series for the Mets. The crowd chants his name and Bronson returns for an encore before he officially calls it a night.
Bronson For President Taylor Hill/Getty Images
Despite the last minute change in venue, Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World was an event that would've generated the same good time no matter where it might have been held. The small yet diverse lineup lent itself to the crowd who may have been there for one particular act but still got a great showing from everyone that took the stage. They got to enjoy lions of pink, Souls of Rebels, and Actions Of Bronsons. All of the ingredients that made for a "wonderful" evening to honor the legacy of the man they called "Satchmo".
Check out more photos from Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World below:
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