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Good Evening Ev'rybody: In Celebration of Louis Armstrong
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Good Evening Ev'rybody: In Celebration of Louis Armstrong on DVD

In 1970, Louis Armstrong went to the Newport Jazz Festival as a special guest to perform his own set, but also to be honored by friends and admirers on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Louis Armstrong: Good Evening Ev'rybody is a document of that event, a collection of interviews, backstage rehearsal footage, and performances. It's footage that had remained unreleased until recently. The concert film is an amazing discovery,. This new DVD was mastered in high-definition, struck from the original 16mm film elements, with a restored soundtrack that is a true blessing to the audience, taking us as close to possible to hearing what the music would have sounded like had we actually been there. The first part of the concert is devoted to performances by Armstrong's band and his regular collaborators, folks like Ray Nance, Jimmy Owens, Bobby Hackett, and Wild Bill Davison. The tributes are loving and light-hearted, including a humorous take on "I'm Confessin'" with Dizzy Gillespie doing a spot-on impression of the bandleader, ending with the whole band chiming in for the big finish, each doing their own Louis. It's humor born of respect, and the admiration is mutual. Between each song, Armstrong explains to the camera who each of the players are, what makes them unique, and why he rates them amongst the best. He also talks about some of his own history and the philosophy behind his music. The man is self-effacing and humble. When he shares a little about how he writes his songs, he concludes the explanation with, "That's all. No big deal." You can tell that's exactly how he feels about himself, even if everyone around him knows he's a legend. "Good Evening Ev'rybody was produced from a digital, high definition restoration of the original 16mm film of the 1970 concert, which was produced and directed by legendary jazz impresario George Wein (founder and Producer of the Newport Jazz Festival) and filmmaker Sidney J. Stiber.