At 26, trumpeter Chris Royal is the same age that Louis Armstrong was when the legendary jazzman was recording his classic Hot Five sessions. Royal, who graduated cum laude from Howard University's jazz studies program last year, has had extensive band and combo experiences with Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Dinah Shore and others. He is currently an instructor in the music department of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Last year Royal was the recipient of down beat magazine's college award for original extended jazz composition and jazz performance.
Royal seems a natural choice for the program of Armstrong's music that will take place today at 3 p.m. in the Palm Court of the National Museum of American History. Entitled "Louis Armstrong & the Hot Five: The Emergence of the Jazz Soloist," the concert is the fourth in a series under the auspices of the Smithsonian's Program in Black American Culture and is free.
Chuck Royal, brother of the group's leader, will be on trombone, Charlie Young on soprano saxophone and clarinet, Dave Kane on piano and Fred Karns, banjo.
"Nobody can duplicate Armstrong," says Royal, who will be playing a 1925 horn once used by his father. of playing it like Louis did it, but playing within the style and playing the overall mood and feeling. We left it pretty loose."