As a prelude to its 90th-birthday tribute to Louis Armstrong scheduled for next year, the Charlin Jazz Society rounded up several area jazz musicians for a "Salute to Satchmo" at the Alden Theatre in McLean Thursday night.
Concerts at the Smithsonian and elsewhere around town over the years have shed a lot more light on Armstrong's contributions to jazz, both as a trumpeter and a vocalist, as well as those of his contemporaries. But this performance was enjoyable for what it was -- a chance to dust off "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "Stardust," "Pennies From Heaven" and other familiar melodies while showcasing some local talent.
When he wasn't waxing lyrical on fluegelhorn, trumpeter Kenny Reed generally took the high road, favoring a bright tone that contrasted with the more fluid and colorful sound produced by Rick Harris. Pianist Larry Eanet, working closely with bassist James King and drummer Ron Compton, exhumed Earl Hines's "Blues in Thirds" in typically percussive yet melodic fashion before singer Selena McDay was invited to close the show. An engaging performer (and law student at American University), McDay recalled with both tenderness and exuberance Armstrong's profound influence on Billie Holiday and other singers.