Louis Armstrong: Oldest Known Concert Footage

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Published on: July 29th, 2013


Satchmo in Copenhagen, 1933
Satchmo in Copenhagen, 1933

With Satchmo SummerFest happening this weekend, we'll be posting several Louis Armstrong videos this week.

We'll start with this one, because it's the earliest known footage of Satchmo live in concert. (Note that the era of silent films, during which the idea of a concert film was a non-starter, had just ended a few years prior to this filming. "Talking pictures" also brought true musical performance to the cinema.)

Here's an article on the circumstances surrounding this performance. A few highlights:

  • Filmed October 21, 1933 at the Lyric Park theater in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • The theater was empty at the time of filming; the crowd shots were spliced in after the fact.
  • When Armstrong arrived in Copenhagen, "fans mobbed the railway station, breaking through police barricades and climbing on top of train cars just to get a glimpse...."

Armstrong and "the Harlem Hot Band" do three songs here: "I Cover The Waterfront", "Dinah" and "Tiger Rag".


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