Performers: Louis Armstrong, Jewel Brown, Joe Darensbourg, Trummy Young, Billy Kyle, Arvell Shaw, Danny Barcelona
Studio: Medici Arts/ Euro Arts (Distr. by Naxos)
Video: 4:3 full screen, B&W
Audio: PCM Mono
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
Louis Armstrong: Live In Australia 1964 is a marvelous DVD of an entire concert filmed for Australian television. Although rock n’ roll and The British Invasion were well underway in our country, Louis Armstrong was able to score huge successes with his band as we can easily see here for ourselves. Just as other reviewers have noted, Armstrong was always the consummate professional and he let all the members of the troupe have their time in the spotlight with solos and great singing. This is a must-have video for Louis Armstrong fans; and fans of classic jazz will not be disappointed.
The overall quality of this concert is flawless. Louis Armstrong sings and plays with his usual charisma and passion; and Jewel Brown sings beautifully with great sensitivity on numbers like Did You Hear About Jerry with its Latin cha cha beat and I Left My Heart In San Francisco, another stunning pop vocal. Jewel Brown sings with true feeling and it shows as she gracefully entertains the audience as the musicians play. Wonderful!
Another very special feature of this concert is the songs that dominated the charts back in the day. We get Mack The Knife; Perdido and Armstrong sings a great rendition of Blueberry Hill much to the crowd’s delight. Trummy Young sings a bit and he also plays trombone and percussion – he was certainly versatile.
The concert ends with a rousing interpretation of When The Saints Go Marching In; the entertainers do this with all their might and Jewel Brown sings and claps her hands high up in the air as she gracefully walks around the musicians on stage. The overall effect is both strong and very upbeat; this makes a solid ending for the concert. The concert may only be 56 minutes along; but it’s quite a show.
The DVD doesn’t have special features unless you consider a few trailers for other DVDs a feature. The quality of the print is really rather good although there is a moment here and there when there is very brief scratching on the print. I assume that they cleaned it up as best they could and that this is what we have to accept; but overall it’s still a pretty clean print.
Louis Armstrong and his band made huge contributions to the arts; and we are all better off for their sharing their talents with us. I highly recommend this for jazz fans and especially for fans of classic jazz. We’re very lucky that Aussie TV filmed this and preserved it for posterity.
TrackList: When It’s Sleepy Time Down South, Now You Has Jazz, High Society, Basin Street Blues, Perdido, Blueberry Hil, How High the Moon, Mack the Knife, Sweet Georgia Brown, Did You Hear About Jerry, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, When the Saints Go Marching In
— Matthew Sherwin