Ricky Riccardi

What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years

This richly researched and lavishly detailed biography concentrates on the last 25 years of the life and career of the jazz great. Riccardi, a 2005 alumnus of the MFA in Jazz History and Research program at Rutgers-Newark, as well as project archivist of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, was able to tap Armstrong resources ranging from interviews, recordings and unpublished documents, to "do justice to both Armstrong the artist and Armstrong the entertainer," according to the Wall Street Journal.

"What a Wonderful World" is the culmination of Riccardi's 15-year fascination with Armstrong and an outgrowth of his popular Armstrong blog, The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong. Unlike most biographers, Riccardi focuses on Armstrong's later years, a period of the musician's career that many critics and historians had dismissed. Through his painstaking research, he convincingly proves that these were years in which Armstrong enhanced his legacy as one of jazz's most influential figures. Riccardi chronicles these decades (post WW II until Armstrong's death in 1971) as ones of great depth of expression and inventiveness, when Armstrong entertained crowds around the world and recorded hits such as "Mack the Knife" and "Hello, Dolly!", which were the highest-charting songs of his career. This was also a period when he collaborated with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck, and recorded with strings and big bands as well as with the All Stars, his primary recording ensemble for more than two decades.

The New York Times June 24, 2011, featured article

Wall Street Journal review, June18-19, 2011

The Washington Post review, June 12, 2011

The Star-Ledger review, June 26, 2011

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review, June 22, 2011

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