Combustible Celluloid Review - Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues (2022), n/a, Sacha Jenkins, Wynton Marsalis, Archie Shepp, Nas
Combustible Celluloid
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With: Wynton Marsalis, Archie Shepp, Nas
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Sacha Jenkins
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 106
Date: 10/28/2022

Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues (2022)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ain't Misbehavin'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This Apple TV+ documentary is based on many tapes recorded and pages written by the great Louis Armstrong himself. It doesn't really go into the music (although we do hear plenty of songs), nor does it describe just why Armstrong was so good. Instead it focuses on Armstrong's personality, his legacy and cultural impact, and the way he used his fame and influence to break down some of the first barriers caused by racism. There are generous clips and television appearances of Armstrong, who the rock critic Robert Christgau slyly suggested may be the greatest artist of the 20th century ("I mean, who else you got?"). We even get a gushing Orson Welles interviewing him. Sacha Jenkins directs, jazz greats Wynton Marsalis and Archie Shepp are interviewed, and rapper Nas provides the voice of Armstrong, reading his letters.

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