I’ll be posting interviews from the CBC-Radio Canada archives this week. The Bob Smith Hot Air archive is a treasure trove of approximately 50 interviews Smith recorded with some of the greatest stars of the day, from the world of jazz and beyond. Captured between 1950 and 1982, these interviews include conversations with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Harry James, Oscar Peterson and Lena Horne, as well as Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Liza Minnelli and many others.
This Hot Air interview with the legendary Louis Armstrong took place on Jan. 17, 1968, just three years before his death. In their relatively short conversation, Hot Air host Bob Smith engages Armstrong on a wide range of topics, including his earliest memories living and playing in a New Orleans orphanage, joining the band of his hero Joe “King” Oliver in Chicago in 1922 and explaining the origin of his many nicknames.
At one point, Armstrong is asked if the rumors of his retirement are true, to which he replies, “Musician don’t retire no how. They just stop when they ain’t got no more gigs.”