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Satchmo, Take Two: Louis Armstrong At The Movies

Trumpeter, vocalist and a dynamic entertainer, Louis Armstrong showcased all these aspects of his talent in 28 full-length films and several short features.

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Louis Armstrong was a legendary, innovative trumpeter, a vocalist who had a profound impact on jazz singing, and a dynamic entertainer. He got a chance to showcase all these aspects of his talent in 28 full-length films and several short features between 1931 and 1969.

We’ll celebrate Armstrong’s symbolic birthday this weekend with a program that includes music from the films

  • New Orleans
  • High Society
  • A Man Called Adam
  • The Five Pennies

and more, including the outtake “Ain’t It the Truth” from Cabin in the Sky, and a few recorded encounters of Armstrong and one of his most fervent admirers, Billie Holiday.

For More Louis Armstrong…

In addition to Krin Gabbard‘s nearly-40-page treatise on Armstrong in his cinematic-jazz book Jammin’ at the Margins (pg. 204-238), here’s some more background on Satchmo’s celluloid career:

And you can watch Holiday and Armstrong perform “Farewell to Storyville” from the 1947 film New Orleans here:

Music Heard On This Episode

Battle Royal
Louis Armstrong — Paris Blues
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Battle Royal
Louis Armstrong — Paris Blues

Notes: From the film PARIS BLUES; Sidney Poitier's sax parts dubbed by Paul Gonsalves, Paul Newman's trombone parts dubbed by Murray MacEachern.

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Jeepers Creepers
Louis Armstrong — Hollywood Swing & Jazz (Rhino, 1938)

Notes: From the 1938 film GOING PLACES.

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Ain't It the Truth
Louis Armstrong — Cabin in the Sky (Rhino)

Notes: Outtake from the 1943 movie.

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Whatcha Say
Louis Armstrong/Dorothy Dandridge — Pillow to Post

Notes: From the 1945 film PILLOW TO POST.

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Where the Blues Were Born in New Orleans
Louis Armstrong — New Orleans (Sound Factory, 1947)

Notes: From the 1947 film NEW ORLEANS.

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Ain't Misbehavin'
Louis Armstrong — Now You Has Jazz: Louis Armstrong at M-G-M (Rhino, 1951)

Notes: Outtake from THE STRIP. With Jack Teagarden.

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Glory Alley
Louis Armstrong — Now You Has Jazz: Louis Armstrong at M-G-M (Rhino, 1952)

Notes: From the 1952 film of the same name.

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Wild Man Moore
Louis Armstrong — Paris Blues (Rykodisc, 1961)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Now You Has Jazz
Bing Crosby/Louis Armstrong — Hollywood Swing & Jazz (Rhino, 1956)

Notes: From the 1956 film HIGH SOCIETY.

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Five Pennies Saints
Louis Armstrong/Danny Kaye — The Five Pennies (Decca, 1959)

Notes: From the 1959 movie THE FIVE PENNIES, with Danny Kaye as Red Nichols.

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Someday Sweetheart
Louis Armstrong — A Man Called Adam (Retrograde, 1966)

Notes: From the 1966 movie A MAN CALLED ADAM.

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Back o'Town Blues
Louis Armstrong — A Man Called Adam (Retrograde, 1966)

Notes: From the 1966 film A MAN CALLED ADAM.

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I Got Rhythm
Louis Armstrong — Now You Has Jazz: Louis Armstrong at M-G-M (Rhino, 1965)

Notes: From the 1965 Connie Francis movie WHEN THE BOYS MEET THE GIRLS.

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Hello Dolly (excerpt)
Louis Armstrong/Barbara Streisand — Hello Dolly

Notes: Armstrong-Streisand duet from the 1969 movie HELLO DOLLY. Armstrong's final film appearance.

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What a Wonderful World
Louis Armstrong — What a Wonderful World (Decca, 1967)

Notes: Used in the movie GOOD MORNING VIETNAM.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • http://trumpetsearch.com Rob

    Louis Armstrong sounded like a great trumpet player to me as a kid, and numerous trumpet players, he still sounds great to me. Thanks so much for sharing these clips. The 1961 clip, by the way, is my birth year!

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