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Louis Armstrong Remembered

Born on 6 September 1877, Charles Bolden, later known as Buddy Bolden, became one of the key figures in the jazz world of New Orleans. As an accomplished cornetist, he was a pioneer in a style then referred to as rag-time. Bolden passed away on 4 November 1931, but his accomplishments and contributions to the jazz industry were not forgotten. Dan Pritzker, a well known filmmaker, along with the assistance of Wynton Marsalis, took it upon himself to bring the story of Bolden to life, and soon found himself on a journey into the life of Louis Armstrong.

Wynton Marsalis is not only a bandleader but also talented trumpeter. Together Marsalis and Pritzker sat down to work out the details for the film Bolden! They soon realized that there was not much detail available in regard to Bolden’s life, and decided to combine fact with fiction to produce a film that is educational and fun to watch. While on this adventure a name came to light that is synonymous with jazz, the iconic Louis Armstrong. Bolden soon became their second project, with the movie Louis taking the limelight. There is, however, one major difference between Louis and mainstream movies: the fact that Louis is a silent movie. Pritzker and Marsalis created a seventy minute silent film following the story of young Louis and his road to fame. Some of the storyline, such as Louis’ friends the Karnofsky Brothers, and his relationship with his mother, are true to life, but some of the plot is a mere creative invention to make the film entertaining.

Louis has now gone on tour to five cities, beginning in Chicago. To bring the film to life audiences are taken back in time, with the accompaniment of a classical pianist and a ten piece contingent led by Wynton Marsalis. As in the days of silent theatre, live music assists in telling the story of Louis Armstrong, highlighting emotions and the storyline. It is an experience not to be missed by movie lovers, and jazz enthusiasts will find the film to interesting and heartwarming. Bolden! is still in the making and will be available in theatres next year.

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