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For your Saturday night, Louis Armstrong in Copenhagen, either 1933 or 1934 (sources use different dates). This has to be one of the first recordings of live music on film. Sound is pretty good too.

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  • ChrisTS

    Oh, very nice. Thank you.

    P.S. And, yes, the sound is surprisingly god.

  • John Protevi

    P.S. And, yes, the sound is surprisingly god.

    I wouldn’t go that far.

    But damn, Armstrong is great. And the band too, for that matter.

    • Ahuitzotl

      Cant go wrong with Pops, really

    • howard

      john, i felt the same way: a live recording in 1933 (or ’34) sounded that good? i mean, it’s not state-of-the-art, but it’s a lot better than i would have expected; i’m going to have to dig into the provenance of this footage, which i’ve never seen before.

      and pops: this gives me a chance to bring up a story that i saw gary giddins relate in an interview. he was interviewing bing crosby’s old piano player, whose name escapes me, and the pianist said one night (actually, the night johnny mercer died) he and bing were sitting and talking about singers, and bing said “louie is the greatest singer that ever was or will be.”

      and the pianist said “hey, i dig pops too, but why do you say something so strongly as that?”

      and crosby’s response was ” because when he sings a happy song you feel happy, and when he sings a sad song, you feel sad. what the hell more is there?”

      • John Protevi

        I’m not a specialist in sound recording, so I have no real opinion on the “surprisingly.” I was in fact just goofing on the typo: “god” instead of “good.”

  • Actually, until around 1932 or so music in films was recorded live without post-production editing and dubbing. It wasn’t until after the early thirties that what you heard with a film had been recorded separately.

    • sparks

      The capability for overdubbing parts on film was available very, very early e.g. in the late 1920s, and sound could always be recorded separately, even where one was using the Fox Movietone single system setup. I’ve found professional musicians overdubbing an actors playing as early as 1929, and so well it was almost undetectable. Of course, it shouldn’t (and wouldn’t need to) have been done in this instance.

      • But it wasn’t done at all in a movie until, iirc, 1929, and it wasn’t common until after 1931 or 1932.

        And also taxing my memory, but wasn’t the first talky Al Jolson singing in The Jazz Singer?

  • Jean-Michel

    This is a great artifact, but “one of the first recordings of live music on film” is, well, a bit of a stretch…

    • sparks

      If you replace that phrase with “one of the first high quality sound film recordings in Europe outside of a soundstage”, it’d edge closer to true. :)

  • M. Sørensen

    From the golden days of jazzhouse montmartre. Nice piece, so thanks for sharing

  • howard

    it’s my sunday morning, and watching louis is a grand way to get the day going.

    as richard noted in our armstrong discussion in the gram parsons thread, louis used the “good old good ones” in his later years, but it’s surprising that he was using it as early as 1933 or ’34, and even more surprising is that he used it “i cover the waterfront,” which was only written in 1933!

    louis wasn’t just a giant: he was pretty much the figure who showed us what a giant could be in american music.

  • BKN in Canadia

    My understanding (based e.g on Terry Teachout’s bio of Armstrong) is that this was not recorded before a live audience, and that the shot of the the applauding crowd was cut in afterwards. So it’s really more of a studio recording.

  • psh

    “I Cover the Waterfront” is great. And, how strange to see Armstrong appear young. One (or at least I) never think of him as a young personality.

    • BKN in Canadia

      I can remember when he died. I was about 6. To me then, and for a long time afterwards, he was a genial, ancient, gravelly-voiced clown who sang “Hello, Dolly”. So I was surprised when in my early 20s I started reading books that described him as enormously influential on all jazz and pop music that came after. When I first saw this film around that time my reactions were (1) ahh, now I see what they meant, and (2) something akin to religious ecstasy.

  • Jason

    Just to echo, wow, great recording, and wow, he looks young. I thought his distinctive voice came later in life. Thanks for posting.

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