Are those days gone, when the greatest musicians of the world would flock to our Ghana; without an invitation and without requesting to paid for it?
In May, 1956 Louis Armstrong’s All Stars were in Great Britain playing the last gigs of a long and tiring overseas tour.
The trip was sponsored by CBS and Edward R. Murrow, and would produce material for the United Artists video Satchmo The Great and the record albums “Ambassador Satch” and “Satchmo The Great”.
Thanks to Ricky Riccardi, Louis Armstrong Archivist and Historian, a very rare piece of footage has hit the web.
The footage was shot in then-Gold Coast, now-Ghana by Edward R. Murrow for the 1957 film “Satchmo the Great.” For more information, check out Riccardi’s biography about Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong’s entourage included vocalist Velma Middleton, clarinetist Edmond Hall, trombonist Trummy Young, pianist Billy Kyle, drummer Barrett Deems, bassist Jack Lesberg, valet Doc Pugh, personal physician Alexander Schiff, and Ernie Anderson of Asscociated Booking.
Although he was black, Louis Armstrong was able to break the very sturdy barriers of racism, to become one of America’s most influential Jazz personalities.
Coming to prominence in the 1920s, as an “inventive” trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in Jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance.
With his instantly recognisable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes.
He was also as renowned for his stage presence as he was for his voice and his skill on the trumpet.
His artistry and personality allowed him to become “socially acceptable”, thus granting him access to the upper echelons of American society which were highly restricted for black men of his era.
By: Jeffrey Owuraku Sarpong/citifmonline.com/Ghana