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Louis Armstrong on the Screen by Klaus Stratemann

Following his monumental Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film, the late Klaus Stratemann has left us a similar invaluable volume about the other major jazz giant. There is rather less “day” and more “film” in it, because Hollywood was at least alive to Armstrong’s talent as both musician and comic actor, just as his manager, Joe Glaser, was undoubtedly aware of both the publicity and monetary value of movie appearances before TV.

What makes this book particularly attractive is its 270 illustrations. Even if one had access to them, it would be a tedious business to sit through all the old, full-length movies for the few minutes by Armstrong and his men they contain. More CDs like the recently-reviewed Rhino (R2-72877) of excerpts from M-G-M movies and Stratemann’s generous use of photographs, will together provide a satisfying amplification of a great career.

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