Bing Crosby was, without a doubt, the most popular and influential multi-media star of the first half of the twentieth century. His remarkable appeal, which continues to this day, was in his seemingly effortless ability to pull an audience in to his intimate, laid-back voice and innate charm. For over three decades, through radio, film, television, and records he reigned supreme. A brilliant entrepreneur, Crosby played an important role in the development of the postwar recording industry. As one of Hollywood's most popular actors, he won the Oscar for 1944's Going My Way and starred in the iconic "Road" films with Bob Hope. Crosby recorded nearly 400 hit singles, an achievement no one–not Sinatra, Elvis or the Beatles–has come close to matching. Thirty-seven years after his death, he remains the most recorded performer in history. Narrated by Stanley Tucci and directed by Emmy-winner Robert Trachtenberg (American Masters–Mel Brooks: Make a Noise), this film explores the life and legend of this iconic performer, revealing a personality far more complex than the image the public had only thought they'd known.
Could anything but warmth and playfulness result when the two most seminal, expressive voices of the 20th century found the room to stretch out on a full LP together? Previously responsible for one of pop history's finest duets ("Gone Fishin'"), Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong teamed up in 1960 to record an LP for MGM. As if Brother Satch and Brother Cros weren't enough in the way of firepower, Johnny Mercer himself signed on (contributing two new songs plus a bounty of added lyrics), while for the arranging and conducting chairs, the equally explosive Billy May was retained. From the opener, there are plenty of nods to a place both of them held dear: New Orleans.
John Coltrane's matchup with singer Johnny Hartman, although quite unexpected, works extremely well. Hartman was in prime form on the six ballads, and his versions of "Lush Life" and "My One and Only Love" have never been topped…