Live Concert Photography: Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Festival at Kupfenberg Center of the Arts 7/21/18 feat. Action Bronson Soul Rebels Brass Band and Amayo’s Fu-Arkist-Ra
Started five years ago,the Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Festival celebrates Louis Armstrong‘s immense cultural influence and legacy, and his love of music. Produced by the Kupferberg Center of the Arts at Queens College, which is known for providing superior, accessible, cultural arts programming for the borough of Queens and the New York Metropolitan area at Colden Auditorium, LeFrak Concert Hall, Goldstein Theatre and select off-campus locations, the festival typically in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, literally a few blocks away from where Armstrong spent the last 30+ years of his life, and where he wrote one of his most signature and beloved songs “What a Wonderful World.” And over the years, the festival has seen a diverse array of up-and-coming and renowned acts play, including Jon Baptiste’s Stay Human, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, Don Flamingo, Kris Kasanova, The Dap Kings, The Havana Roots Collective, Dr. John, JOVM mainstays Soulive, Kermit Ruffins, Lauryn Hill, Antibalas, Rebirth Brass Band, the Shannon Powell Traditional All-Star Band and a host of others. Although, this year’s festival was relocated to Colden Auditorium because of threats of inclement weather, it did continue the festival’s reputation for diverse and eclectic bills with headliner, Queens-born and bred Action Bronson, New Orleans-based JOVM mainstays The Soul Rebels Brass Band and Amayo’s Fu-Arkist-Ra. Check out photos from a full afternoon of music below.
Born the son of an Albanian-born, Muslim immigrant father and an American-born, Jewish mother, Arian Asilani, best known as Action Bronson is a Flushing Queens, NY-born emcee, chef and TV host. Before seriously embarking on a music career, Asilani was a respected fire-flame gourmet chef, whose family owned and ran a local restaurant, and as the story goes, Asilani spit bars as a hobby and hosted an online cooking show Action in the Kitchen before breaking his leg. Since fully embarking on music, Bronson has released quite a bit of material including 2011’s independently released, Tommy Mas-produced full-length debut Dr. Lecter, the Statik Selektah-produced Well-Done, 2012’s The Alchemist-produced Rare Chandeliers, 2013’s Party Supplies-produced Blue Chips 2, and his 2013 Harry Fraud-produced major label debut Saaab Stories EP. Bronson’s major label full-length debut Mr. Wonderful was released to critical acclaim, receiving praise from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and others, debuting at #7 on the Billboard 200. His latest album Blue Chips 7000 was released to critical acclaim, with Pitchfork writing ““these new tracks are probably the strongest in his catalog—full of cheeky, relentless verses to match the energetic funk he’s best accompanied by—and the repetition feels strategic.”
Since 2016, Bronson has been the host of Fuck That’s Delicious, a song in which Bronson plays hip-hop’s Anthony Bourdain, as the show features his passion for good food, good drink, good times and music. He released the show’s eponymous cookbook Fuck That’s Delicious in late 2017. He’s also the host of Traveling the Stars: Ancient Aliens with Action Bronson, a show that hilariously nods at Mystery Science Theater 3000 and has featured guests like Tyler The Creator, Schoolboy Q, Too Short, Earl Sweatshirt and Eric Andre among others.
Currently comprised of founding members Lumar LeBlanc (percussion) and Derrick Moss (percussion), with Julian Goslin (trumpet), Marcus Hubbard (trumpet), Corey Peyton (trombone), Paul Robertson (trombone), Erion Williams (saxophone), and Edward Lee, Jr. (sousaphone), the New Orleans, LA-based octet and JOVM mainstays The Soul Rebels Brass Band have developed a national and international profile for incorporating elements of soul, jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock and pop music within a contemporary brass band framework, which as The Village Voice once said was “the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong.” As a result, the New Orleans-based brass band have collaborated with an impressive and wildly diverse list of artists including Nas, GZA, Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Green Day, Trombone Shorty, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Styles P, Kirk Knight, Mobb Deep‘s Prodigy, Big Freedia, Pharoahe Monch, Roy Hargrove, John Medeski, The Roots’ Black Thought, Black Moon‘s Buckshot Shorty, The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, Joey Bada$$, Maceo Parker, Galactic, Suzanne Vega, Eurythmics‘ Dave Stewart, Robert Glasper,Eric Krasno, Lettuce, and Gov’t Mule along with more frequent collaborations with Slick Rick, Talib Kweli and Rakim. Adding to a rapidly growing profile the members of the New Orleans-based brass band have shared bills with Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Estelle, CeeLo Green, The Allman Brothers Band, Arcade Fire, Disclosure, Ice Cube, George Clinton, John Mayer, Jack White and others. They’ve also performed on CBS, The Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, HBO, TBS, NBC, NPR, ESPN, BBC 2, The CW and others. But perhaps more important the band has a long-held reputation for being road warriors as they routinely play over 250 shows a year — including annual stops at Brooklyn Bowl, and The Blue Note Jazz Club, which has featured the band collaborating with some of hip-hop’s most influential artists.
Best known as the frontman of renowned Brooklyn-based Afrobeat collective Antibalas, Abraham “Duke” Amayo’s the Fu-Arkist-Ra finds Amayo collaborating with a a diverse array of musicians, including some of his Antibalas bandmates in a side project that blends the political messages of his primary project with traditional Chinese dragon dance rhythms, Afrobeat, highlife, funk and jazz to create a sound and aesthetic that bridges China, Africa and America in a seamless and cinematic fashion.