Sunday, February 15, 2009

50 Years Of The Stuttgart Videos

Back to 1959, my friends, but I promise not to get too wordy in this entry because I think the videos will speak for themselves. Last week, we listened to our heroes--Louis Armstrong, Trummy Young, Peanuts Hucko, Billy Kyle, Mort Herbert, Danny Barcelona and Velma Middleton--perform a typically wonderful show at the Concergebouw in Amsterdam. From there, the non-stop touring continued into Germany. In Stuttgart, 50 years ago today, parts of their performance were filmed and later aired. I've used a couple of these clips before in other entries but this is the first time I've assembled all six clips in one posting so you can watch all the footage in a row, exactly as it aired.

Of course, part of me wants to travel to Germany and bang down the door of whatever station or studio did the filming; you'll hear Pops announce an intermission, Velma comes out at the end...long story short, I'm sure the cameras caught the entire show and they just chose these six selections to air as a 30-minute show. That's all well and good...but where's the rest?

Okay, enough from me, let's enjoy the All Stars, one month into this marathon tour, still performing swinging, fresh versions of some of their best-known performances. The broadcast opens with this terrific "Basin Street Blues," featuring the slower first section, something the All Stars started doing in 1958:



Next, one of my all-time favorite clips of Pops and one I've blogged about before. I showed this one at the Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans last year and people literally cried. It's pretty overwhelming for me to: "I Get Ideas."


"Mack the Knife" is next, an appropriate show for a German audience. The tempo kept on creeping up through the years until Pops put on the brakes in the early 60s and slowed it down. Here, it's pretty fast but it still kills:


Finally, it's Danny Barcelona time! I've resisted sharing any of Danny's features in my past 1959 entries because I knew I had this in my back pocket the entire time. I interviewed Danny at length a few times in 2005 and we became close phone friends before his unfortunate passing away in 2007. Danny sometimes got criticized for speeding up during his breaks and I'm not going to defend that; but he also swung the band tremendously, he created zero drama and his solo features always tore up the audience. For that, Pops, who notoriously clashed heads with drummers, kept Danny in the band for 13 years. I copied this clip to David Ostwald and others and I always get the same reaction: no one realized how good of a drummer he was and what a monster solo this version of "Stompin' At The Savoy" truly is. Let's hear it for the "little Filipino boy" (or "Hawaiian boy," depending on the night), Danny Barcelona!


As chronicled in my dissertation on "When the Saints Go Marchin' In" last year, Pops was still shooting the lights out on this number until the heart attack he suffered in June 1959. After that, he attempted to play his always-exciting three-chorus rideout solo on the Ed Sullivan Showin September but he struggled a little more than usual. By October, the rideout was gone, a sad concession to his aging chops and aging heart. But here in Stuttgart, he was feeling in 100% form so here are the rideout choruses in all their glory:


And finally, a neat little encore. The band gets some flowers and decides to lay "The Faithful Hussar" on the German audience, a smart choice considering the song originated as "Es War Einmal Ein Treuer Husar" and was picked up by Pops in Germany during a 1955 tour. By this point, he had started singing some funny lyrics about how he found the song and began singing it "in a Satchmo way." However, when Pops usually took these encores, they were condensed and alas, the vocal and some of the solos are gone from this version. But Trummy still gets to roar and Pops takes it out on top. A wonderful finish!


That's all from Stuttgart. I'll be back this week with some more spins of the Itunes shuffle...til then!

1 comment:

Lars-Erick Forsgren said...

Thanks! Wonderful music!
Louis is still number one!
Among so many good and genius musicians he is best.

Thanks for all good music you gives us.
It makes me play my old records again.