Picks and Pans Review: Music on Video

updated 04/09/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/09/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT


Brimming with energy and genius, Louis Armstrong also exhibited, as this exemplary 86-minute film shows, a remarkable dignity. Even when he sang racially demeaning songs in his early movies, he never seemed diminished. Jazz critic Gary Giddins, who wrote the script, and co-director Kendrick Simmons offer captivating images and interviews. But the tape's high spots are its music, including duets with Jack Teagarden, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie. Armstrong wasn't a great talker—"I only speak but one language: bad English," he said—yet if ever a man could be satisfied with letting his art speak for him, here he is. (CBS, $19.98)

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