Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nixon and Satchelmouth's stash:

The previous blog entry on Willie Nelson's bust reminded Malcolm of a twice-heard tale. Humphrey Lyttelton, in his BBC radio programme, The Best of Jazz, some years ago, may have been its first audition. The pianist, Tommy Flanagan, is often cited as the source of the story, sometimes "as told to Miles Davis". It has the smack of an urban folk-myth, but it's worth the re-telling. Since all parties are now safely defunct, no great harm is done.

In July 1959, Vice-President Richard Nixon went to Moscow. This was during one of the "thaws" in the Cold War, when an American National Exhibit was in Moscow. During this event the famous "kitchen debate" occurred between Nixon and Khrushchev.

On the stop-over in Paris, Nixon and his entourage encountered Louis Armstrong and his Band in the V.I.P. lounge at Orly. Armstrong's European tour had wound up at l'Olympia; and he was now on a US State Department-sponsored Mission to Moscow. Nixon, allegedly, went somewhat giggly in the presence of the great Louis, and begged to be allowed to help. Armstrong graciously handed Nixon his instrument case, which Nixon proudly carried off the aircraft, and through the Soviet customs. Thus was Satchmo's stash safely delivered under diplomatic cover. Sphere: Related Content

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