As anyone who has given my blog a modest going-over knows by now, Lil Hardin Armstrong and I were good friends in the last ten years of her life. We met in September of 1961, when I was in Chicago producing a series of session for Riverside Records' "Living Legends" series, a continuation of a project started in New Orleans nine months earlier. I have posted my recollections and reflections on both trips elsewhere on this blog. You will find links at the bottom of this one.
This time I am posting the first of three tape reels containing a very casual audio interview with Lil, done in 1968 as an initial step in our collaboration on her autobiography. As you may know, unforeseen circumstances halted that project and I have already posted a few excerpts from the manuscript here. I recently came upon this tape and thought it might be of interest, although Lil reminisced about some of the same things for Bill Grauer in 1956. That became a Riverside LP called "Satchmo and Me," which may be difficult to obtain today. Anyway, the Grauer interview was heavily edited and it had unnecessary narrative bridges. A transcript of that release has since been made available for $14 by someone trying to cash in on it. This interview, on the other hand, is unexpurgated and free.
Here is a link to Part 2 of this three-part interview.
Additional links that pertain to Lil:
The Jones Music Store, Jelly Roll, and Handsome Men
Louis, Lil, and the Little Gangster