The Louis Armstrong House Museum has acquired the only known film of the great jazz musician in a recording studio, recording the 1959 album, “Satchmo Plays King Oliver.” This exclusive video depicts Armstrong and his All Stars recording the master take of “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” as well as silent footage of them listening to the playback. Also featured in the clip are Trummy Young, trombone, Peanuts Hucko, clarinet, Billy Kyle, piano, Mort Herbert, bass and Danny Barcelona, drums. The original album was produced for Audio Fidelity records by Sid Frey, who commissioned the film to be made. It was discovered in a storage facility in 2012 and was brought to the Armstrong House with help of Frey’s daughter, Andrea Bass.
Fun things to look out for:
*There’s no sheet music, forcing Louis to make up a few lyrics (“hot mamas!”)
*Watch for Louis breaking himself up after quoting “Pennies from Heaven” during the opening trumpet chorus.
*Armstrong often said when he scatted, he’d move his fingers as if he was playing the trumpet; watch the dramatic hand gestures during the vocal!
*We can’t hear the playback, but Louis looks satisfied. (That’s Dukes of Dixieland manager Joe Delaney sitting next to Louis.) And dig those shorts!
*This was all filmed at the famous Radio Recorders in Los Angeles, a great glimpse into a world-renowned studio.