The Only Known Footage Of Louis Armstrong In Studio Was Recently Discovered

Watch Satchmo recording "I Ain't Got Nobody" in 1959

Satchmo didn't need sheet music when he recorded, and he often improvised. That's what we've learned from a recently recovered recording of the master in studio, the only known footage of Louis Armstrong in studio.

The 33-minute film shows Armstrong and his band recording songs for his 1959 album, "Satchmo Plays King Oliver," and now belongs to the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

The footage was originally commissioned by  the album's producer, Sid Frey, except Frey never told anyone about it. The film changed hands multiple times, but Frey's daughter, Andrea Bass, helped the museum recover from a storage facility.

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"Armstrong didn't have any sheet music for this song, and on each take, improvises a completely new vocal made up of a mixture of dazzling scat singing and the occasional English phrase," the museum said in a press release. "The camera catches Armstrong deep in the creative process, looking up and covering his trademark handkerchief as torrents of scat syllables pour out from within."

[H/T The Guardian]

From US Esquire