Fifth about The Seventh

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues: Sacha Jenkins’ documentary on Satchmo benefits greatly from the access it has to a wealth of archival material; Armstrong was not only one of the greatest musicians of the century but also a man interested in keeping a record of his thoughts for posterity. He had a complex relationship with racial issues, and his voice (both literally, in interviews and audio recordings done by himself, and figuratively, in letters he wrote and that are readen by Nas) helps explore those, showcasing a man who was first and foremost an artist, but also a Black man growing up during Jim Crow times. The film has very interesting aesthetics: Jenkins, alongside Alma Herrera-Pazmiño and Jason Pollard, minimizes the use of talking heads (and there are a lot of people giving ), opting instead for more of a multimedia approach, where words are highlighted on the screen over photos or newspaper clippings as they are read. That, plus the extensive use of archival footage, makes this much more dynamic and interesting. And his music, well, that’s reason enough by itself to see this film.

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