RMJC: POPS! THE MUSIC OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG – Billings Symphony Skip to content


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Sukin Series


Sep 14, 2024


Babcock Theatre

2810 2nd Ave N


Among the most influential figures in jazz history, Louis Armstrong’s career spanned over 50 years. Join the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective as they celebrate Armstrong’s prolific career with their renditions of such classics as “Struttin’ With Some BBQ,” “Heebie Jeebies,” “West End Blues,” and “What A Wonderful World.”

  • Louis Armstrong's wife helped jumpstart his solo career. Armstrong spent three years playing in jazz ensembles in Chicago and Harlem. He was largely content to be a journeyman musician, but his second wife, a pianist named Lil Hardin, believed he was too talented not have his own band. In 1925, while Armstrong was performing in New York, Hardin went behind his back and inked a deal with Chicago’s Dreamland Café to make him a featured act. She even demanded that he be billed as “The World’s Greatest Trumpet Player.”
  • At age 62, Louis Armstrong surpassed The Beatles at the top of the pop charts. In late-1963, Armstrong and his All Stars recorded the title track for an upcoming musical called “Hello, Dolly!” The trumpeter didn’t expect much from the tune, but when the show debuted on Broadway the following year, it became a runaway hit. By May, “Hello Dolly!” had soared to the top of the charts, displacing two songs by The Beatles, who were then at the height of their popularity. At age 62, Armstrong became the oldest musician in American history to have a number one song.


Guest artists

Scott Jeppesen is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Montana State University Billings, teaching Music Theory, Music History, Commercial Improvisation, Commercial Composition/Arranging, Jazz Combo, Music Business, and private lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute.

Scott is an alumnus of the University of Southern California, where he earned a Bachelor of Music (BM), Master of Music (MM), and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Jazz Studies.

Before accepting the position at MSUB, Scott lived in Los Angeles for seventeen years. During that time, he performed with many legendary artists, including Maria Schneider, Bobby McFerrin, Russell Ferrante, Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Pasqua, Bill Watrous, Shelly Berg, John Daversa, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw, Bob Mintzer, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller, Randy Brecker, and James Moody. Scott has composed and arranged for many different artists, including Steve Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Scott Martin, and the PBS Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, which aired in the spring of 2007.

In 2009, he cofounded Cultivating Creative Minds with his wife, Roxanne, which provides art instruction to elementary school-aged students throughout Santa Clarita, CA.

Scott has released two solo albums: "El Guapo (2013)" and "Wonders (2016)." An in-demand guest artist and clinician, Scott has performed for many colleges, high schools, and middle schools across the United States.

Since 2019, Scott has served as the musical director for the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective. This ensemble aims to increase appreciation and awareness of jazz music through the performance of themed programs with cultural and historical significance to the history and development of American music. Since its formation, the RMJC has performed tributes to Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Blue Note Records, Oliver Nelson, and Sammy Nestico. In 2023, Scott arranged "Christmas on Broadway," a 100-minute-long holiday show for a big band, string orchestra, and Broadway vocalists Nicolas Dromard and Desirée Davaar. With Scott as guest conductor, the Billings Symphony Orchestra performed the show at the Alberta Bair Theater in December of 2023. Scott is writing ten new arrangements of Stevie Wonder's music, which the ensemble will perform in June 2024.

Scott is a D'Addario Performing Artist.




Joe & Betty Roy