Return to the Old Stomping Ground
On Sunday, April 7, New Yorker David Ostwald sweeps into his old hometown with the six-piece band that he fronts in a steady Wednesday night gig at the legendary jazz club Birdland in Midtown Manhattan. Beginning at 2 p.m., David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band will celebrate and expatiate on traditional jazz at its Tri-State Jazz Society appearance at Community Arts Center in Wallingford.
Over the nineteen years of Wednesdays at Birdland, dozens of jazz masters have played regularly or sat in occasionally with the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band (and its predecessor the Armstrong Centennial Band). Ostwald said, “It’s a dream come true. New York has so many good players, we always have a ‘next man up’ ready,” if someone goes on tour or on a recording date. The sextet playing April 7 at CAC includes David Ostwald on tuba, Danny Tobias on trumpet, Ricky Alexander on clarinet and saxes, Jim Fryer on trombone, Vince Giordano, banjo, guitar, and Alex Raderman, drums.
The band’s namesake Louis Armstrong is a hero to Ostwald. “Not just his music, I love him. I love his humanitarianism, his grace in handling difficult situations. I still tap into experiences he describes when I’m in as similar situation — like ‘What would Louis do?”
Raised in Swarthmore, where his father Martin Ostwald was a Classics professor, David Ostwald began studying piano at age seven and tuba at eleven. He first toted a sousaphone in the Swarthmore High School Marching band as a seventh grader, and pursued training as a classical musician here and into college. When he formed his first jazz band at as a college student, he didn’t look back. Apart from his career as a professional musician, Ostwald has presented jazz education programs for children, written extensively about jazz music and serves on the board of the Louis Armstrong House Museum.
Ostwald is hoping for a return performance on April 7 by his former Hebrew School teacher, Rabbi Louis Kaplan, a big jazz fan and scholar who memorably sang a saucy standard as a guest vocalist with Ostwald’s group at the 50th anniversary celebration of Congregation Ohev Shalom’s formation.
Half-price admission of $10, payable at the door, is available for first-time attendees and TSJS members; general admission is $20; full-time students with IDs and children are free. There are no advance sales or reservations. CAC is at 414 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford. For information, see tristatejazz.org or call (856) 720-0232.