In our last post, we set the scene for Louis Armstrong’s appearance on an episode of the Kraft Music Hall that was hosted by Herb Alpert and broadcast in September 1967. That earlier post was filled with dozens of photographs taken during the first two rehearsals that took place for the taping.
Today, we actually begin the recording studio for the laying down of some prerecorded tracks that were used on the final broadcast, namely “Now You Has Brass,” an updated version on the Cole Porter tune “Now You Has Jazz,” which was immortalized by Louis and Bing Crosby in the film High Society.
Since I believe that might be the only song that received the pre-recorded treatment, we can assume that’s what they’re working on in this sequence of photos, taken by Jack Bradley, who was with Armstrong and Alpert every step of the way between June 25 and 28. The only visible All Stars in these photos are drummer Danny Barcelona, trombonist Tyree Glenn, and clarinetist Joe Muranyi, but pianist Marty Napoleon and bassist Buddy Catlett were also present.
As for the Tijuana Brass, you’ll see members scattered throughout the photos so here is their personnel again so you can identify them: drummer Nick Ceroli, trombonist Bob Edmondson, trumpeter Tonni Kalash, vibraphonist Lou Pagani, guitarist John Pisano, and bassist Pat Senatore.
Without further ado, let’s get to the photos, which begin with Armstrong and Alpert working on their vocal duet:
A great shot of both men on trumpet, alongside Glenn and Muranyi:
The unidentified woman in the background is really enjoying the duet in these next images:-
Bradley then explored the studio space to get these nice shots from afar:
Tiajuana Brass trumpeter Tonni Kalash can be seen here and in the next few images:
Bradley finally inched his way a little closer to get some nice close-ups of Armstrong in action, but also looking serious as he examines the arrangement:
I know a photo only captures a millisecond but Louis looks very serious and very tired in this next image, even though he seems to know that Bradley is shooting him:
After laying down the tracks in the studio, the whole troop headed to the television studio for a final rehearsal on stage and the taping, which according to our reader Tim Faracy was most likely filmed on Avenue M in Brooklyn. In our previous post, we quoted from Jack Bradley’s Coda column which mentioned that the 8-10 hour days were very tiring for Armstrong, who was just recovering from a serious bought of bronchial pneumonia. His tiredness carried over to Brooklyn as he had a cup of coffee with Tyree Glenn:
Bradley then spotted Armstrong alone and nursing his coffee and couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of this more subdued side of the trumpeter:
New All Star Joe Muranyi crouched down to talk to Armstrong, still looking visibly tickled that he was able to experience these moments, but Armstrong’s exhaustion only grows more pronounced in these photos:
Bradley’s girlfriend Jeann “Roni” Failows then came up to him with a cup of coffee of her own, making conversation while Armstrong now smokes a cigarette:
Armstrong wasn’t the only one looking like he was dragging. Longtime road doctor Alexander Schiff was also caught in a weary mood by Bradley’s camera:
He did perk up a bit for this next photo:
Valet Bob Sherman, who replaced Doc Pugh in 1965, also looked tired but managed to give Bradley’s camera a warm smile:
All of a sudden special guest Jackie Vernon appeared, showing something off to Doc Schiff and Sherman:
Whatever it is, he next shows it to Armstrong:
Vernon seems to spot someone from afar, potentially another photographer:
Armstrong and Vernon start smiling for this mystery photographer but Bradley keeps snapping away, too, and gets some good shots:
With Armstrong coming alive and Bradley making his presence felt with his camera, Tonni Kalash next asked to take a photo with Armstrong:
Jeann Failows returned, this time with Jackie Vernon’s prop beat-up cornet, now eliciting a show business smile from Armstrong:
But Armstrong really hams it up when asked to take a photo with Jack Bradley! We assume Jeann Failows took this shot and it’s a gem, one that really gives an idea of the closeness of this relationship:
It was almost time start taping, so Alpert joined Armstrong, looking tired himself:
But the two professionals lightened up for this, our final photo of today:
And with that, Armstrong and Alpert were ready to hit the stage to actually rehearse and tape the final show for broadcast–we’ll be back next week to share those photos, which you won’t want to miss!