Hello Pops is a project that simply extends a musical homage and Hello to my favorite and most influential hero!
When deciding on the selections for this CD I chose songs that were poignant during various developmental stages of my personal as well as my musical life. The music of Louis Armstrong (Pops) was on the “hit parade” with me from day one of listening—from the Hot Fives and Sevens all the way through to the All Stars. From my first recording of “Keyhole Blues” (Hot Fives) to “Dream A Little Dream” (with Ella) to “Hello Brother” (All Stars) to “Black and Blue” (All Stars), I enjoyed each tune that Pops did with various groups and configurations.
Pops was also an inspiration for the new compositions in this session. “Hello Pops” is my way of saying thanks to Louis Armstrong for what he did for me. If I could do that for 10 quadrillion, it wouldn’t amount to what he did for me, is my direct sentiment and feeling about it all. “Pops for President” was inspired by a video clip of the All Stars with Louis singing “Black and Blue” to 100,000 Africans that were at war but called a truce just to attend his performance. What better candidate to bring world peace? Can you think of one? I can think of none!!! Pops touched EVERYBODY!!! Still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Come on folks, Vote Pops for Pres-i-dent!!!
“Meatball 1, 2, 3,” well, that’s something that just came to me in the dressing room after a gig one night in Wisconsin. Sitting backstage after everyone had left the theatre, I picked up my trumpet and began to play what became this tune. Who knows why I was thinking about meatballs, but here it is in this offering as a song with a simple melody and me playing Trumpet (Meatball 1), Trombone (Meatball 2), and Tuba (Meatball 3). Pops used to write songs about food so I guess he and I have that in common, and that’s just how my mind works sometimes.
I hope you enjoy this CD as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. And one last thing, “Hello, Pops. Wycliffe Gordon here, saying ‘Thank you!’ once again for the great vibes you put in the universe!!!”
Personnel for the album: Wycliffe Gordon on all featured solos on trumpet, trombone, sousaphone and vocals; Anat Cohen on reeds; Aaron Diehl on piano; Corcoran Holt on bass; Marion Felder on drums; Nancy Harms femaie vocals; Bria Skonberg and Emily Asher on trumpet and trombone supplemental. Thanks guys!