BY JOE MARVILLI
It is that time of year again.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum announced its 2014 Louie Award recipients last week, with three members selected to take home the prize this year. Talk show host Dick Cavett, Executive Director of Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center, Andrew P. Jackson, and author Stephen Maitland-Lewis will receive the award at the museum’s gala later this year.
The Louie Award honors those who have worked to preserve and promote the cultural legacy of the legendary jazz musician. This is the fourth iteration of the Louie Awards with previous winners including Quincy Jones, Jimmy Heath, CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, Stanley Crouch and many more.
Cavett is best known as the host of “The Dick Cavett Show,” which ran from 1968 to 1986. Throughout his lifetime, Cavett received 12 Emmy nominations with three wins. He also wrote four books and is now starring in “Hellman v. McCarthy (Literary Legends Declare War!),” an off-Broadway play.
Armstrong was a guest on Cavett’s talk show three times between 1970 and 1971. His first appearance on the program came after two stretches in intensive care. During his final appearance on the show, he promoted an upcoming performance at the Waldorf-Astoria, the final public concert of his career.
Similarly to how Armstrong was committed to helping his Corona community during his life, Jackson does the same today. With Jackson’s vision and leadership, the Langston Hughes Community Library transformed from a low-key structure in a former Woolworth’s store into a state-of-the-art, essential branch of the Queens Library system. Langston Hughes Library includes the Black Heritage Reference Center, the City’s largest circulating collection of materials on Black culture.
Jackson has also been a member of the Advisory Board of the Louis Armstrong House Museum since its beginning in 1995.
Maitland-Lewis’ novels, “Hero on Three Continents” and “Ambition,” have received multiple awards. Besides his work as an author, he is a British attorney and a former international investment banker. He also owns a luxury hotel and a restaurant.
As a 12-year-old in post-World War II England, Maitland-Lewis would repeatedly listen to Armstrong’s music. He wrote a letter to the trumpeter, surprisingly getting a response and having a private lunch with the musician. The two wrote and communicated with each other for the next 15 years, until Armstrong’s death. In November 2010, Maitland-Lewis became a Board Trustee for the Louis Armstrong House Museum.
The museum’s gala will take place on Dec. 8 at Capitale, located at 130 Bowery. The cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and award ceremony at 7 p.m. Jazz vocalist Catherine Russell, whose father Luis Russell played with Armstrong, will perform at the gala. To find out more or to buy tickets, contact Eve Wolf at (718) 997-3581 or gala@LouisArmstrongHouse.org.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.