January 21, 2013
Louis Armstrong and His All Stars Live in Belgium, 1959: The Full Show (Open Culture, January 10th, 2013)
Duke Ellington once said of Louis Armstrong, "He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone on the way."
The grandson of slaves, Armstrong grew up in the poorest neighborhood of New Orleans. As a child he was fascinated with the marching bands that played in funeral processions. At the age of seven he went to work for a junk dealer. He would ride on the junk wagon and, as he recalled later, toot an old tin horn "as a call for old rags, bones, bottles or anything that the people and the kids had to sell." When the young boy saw an old cornet in the window of a pawn shop, he asked his boss to loan him the five dollars to buy it. He learned to play the instrument in the Home for Colored Waifs, where he was sent for delinquency. The gifted youngster soon caught the attention of the pioneering jazz cornetist Joe "King" Oliver, who became his mentor. In 1922 Armstrong joined Oliver in Chicago to play in his famous Creole Jazz Band. He was 21 years old. Before long Armstrong set out on his own, and in 1925 began recording his legendary "Hot Five" sessions that established him as a virtuoso and changed the course of jazz history. [...]
Marsalis's comments are from the foreward to the Jazz Icons DVD Louis Armstrong: Live in '59. The concert, shown above, was filmed in March of 1959 in Antwerp, Belgium. It may be the only full Armstrong concert captured on film.
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2013 8:59 PM