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The definitive documentary on the remarkable Louis Prima


Louis Prima (1910-78) was a very entertaining trumpeter-singer whose career spanned more than four decades and several different styles.

Starting out playing New Orleans jazz, Prima recorded hot swing in the 1930s and was a big hit in New York’s 52nd Street clubs.

Always a comic personality, Prima had some success leading a big band in the 1940s and then, after an off-period, hit pay dirt in the 1950s when he teamed up with his wife singer Keely Smith, r&b saxophonist Sam Butera and the Witnesses.

Based in Las Vegas, Prima had the most high-energy show on the strip, combining together his New Orleans jazz trumpet and a swing repertoire with ballads featuring Smith, r&b romps with Butera, a rock and roll sensitivity, and his own Italian humor.

The godfather of Retro Swing of the 1990s, Prima continued playing his infectious and joyful music in the 1960s and ‘70s even after divorcing Keely Smith.

This music-filled documentary, which lasts over 80 minutes, covers all of Louis Prima’s eras and has many exciting performances, making it a must-see.

-Scott Yanow

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