Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Muddy Waters to The Rolling Stones to R.E.M. to LCD Soundsystem. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Enjoy!
Forty-seven years ago today, on July 10, 1970, some of history’s great jazz and blues heroes gathered at George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival to say Happy 70th Birthday to the grandaddy of jazz himself, Louis Armstrong. (Never mind that, years later, it would emerge that Armstrong had been born in 1901, not 1900 as he always claimed, making him 69 in 1970.)
Trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hackett, Ray Nance, Wild Bill Davison and Jimmy Owens were among the guests for the show, which Paste has preserved in the vault with some amazing video clips. Also on hand were The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Eureka Brass Band and The New Orleans Classic Ragtime Orchestra, all of which performed the New Orleans brass-band music of Armstrong’s upbringing. And of course, Armstrong himself was there.
First, watch this video of Dizzy Gillespie playfully playing the jazz standard “I’m Confessin’,” which Armstrong first made famous in 1930. “If it wasn’t for him,” Gillespie tells the crowd, “there wouldn’t be any of us.”
Armstrong, looking frail but with that trademark ear-to-ear grin affixed to his face throughout, also joins blues legend Mahalia Jackson after her exquisite performance of “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” for a raucous duet on “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Says Satchmo, “What an evening, folks!”
Finally, let’s watch Armstrong take the stage for himself and soak in the Newport adulation as he performs three classics: “Pennies From Heaven,” “Blueberry Hill” and “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South.” “Blueberry Hill” is below. Search the others here at Paste.com.
Sadly, as it turned out, this would be Armstrong’s last birthday bash. He died not quite a year later, on July 6, 1971, at his home in Queens, New York.