Watch the earliest known footage of Louis Armstrong performing live in Copenhagen, 1933
Louis Armstrong, arguably the most influential figure in the history of jazz music, had a blustering career which spanned five decades from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Armstrong rose to prominence in the 1920s as an “inventive” trumpet and cornet player and was a pioneer in a major movement in jazz which saw musicians of the genre move into solo careers.
After establishing himself as a major figurehead of jazz throughout the 1920s, Louis Armstrong took his ‘Harlem Hot Band’ global and arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark to play a schedule of eight shows at the Lyric Park theatre.
By this time Armstrong’s fame was uncompromising and growing even further. He had previously appeared in a 1931 film called Ex Flame and made cameos in two short films in the year that followed. Upon hearing Armstrong’s arrival to Denmark, Danish filmmakers Ludvig Brandstrup and Holger Madsen managed to snap up the musician to appear in his feature film København, Kalundborg Og -?.
Making a cameo in the film, footage of Armstrong and his band was filmed on October 21, 1933, during a planned performance at the Lyric Park. The nine-man band includes Armstrong on trumpet and vocals as they run through renditions of ‘Dinah’, ‘Tiger Rag’ and ‘I Cover the Waterfront’ as the crowd applause the show.
Typically living up to the showman persona that he had built up over the years, Armstrong is in full swing for the performance in the film which, after much research, is credited as being the earliest recorded footage of the iconic jazz musician playing live with his band.