Louis Armstrong was perhaps the finest jazz trumpeter ever, and in his time, also the most famous person of color in show business. When you heard him play, you knew it could be no one else. But behind his big grin- and big talent- lay a more complex individual. During the Civil Rights era, some younger activists branded him an “Uncle Tom”, but this highly private, sensitive man was anything but. Even with all his success, he experienced and fully absorbed the oppression of his race. But with his rare musical gift, he still brought joy to all creeds and colors.
Whether you remember him as Satchmo (short for “Satchel Mouth”) or just plain Louis, most everybody loved Louis Armstrong. In this fascinating doc, archival footage showing the seemingly happy, genial Armstrong performing in front of adoring crowds is set against revealing audio diaries and interviews that reveal a more conflicted soul fully aware of, and in sympathy with, the plight of his people. A corrective and a celebration all at once, “Black and Blue” honors both the music, and the man behind it.