Ever since he listened to “St. Louis Blues” on Louis Armstrong’s “16 Most Requested Songs” CD, Ricky Riccardi has been obsessed with Pops. Less than a decade after he graduated from Rutgers Newark University with a master’s degree in Jazz History and Research in 2005, he landed his dream job at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, NY.
Prior to working with the Armstrong Museum, Riccardi created the Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong blog in 2007 (dippermouth.blogspot.com), through which he connected with other serious Armstrong collectors around the world. His quest for collecting and sharing Armstrong’s music only intensified when he got settled into his new position as archivist at the Queens College Louis Armstrong House Museum. Ricky, along with his colleagues, continued to dig like an archaeologist, unearthing lost and mostly unheard gems from the largest music and memorabilia collection of any jazz musician in the world. Jazz fans have been rewarded by his treasure hunt which has excavated a gold mine of Satchmo’s music.
Because of his extensive knowledge of Pops, Riccardi, the author of “What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years” (Pantheon 2011), was tapped to write the liner notes and suggested some of the track selections for the CDs in the 2011 “Satchmo: Louis Armstrong, Ambassador of Jazz” CD collection (Universal), packaged in a unique replica of a vintage suitcase filled with reproduction sheet music and a 200 page book written by Richard Havers. Some previously unreleased material was featured on one of the discs.