Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were (and are) two of the main stems of jazz. Any way you look at it, just about everything that's ever happened in this music leads directly – or indirectly – back to them. Both men were born on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, and each became established as a leader during the middle '20s. Although their paths had crossed from time to time over the years, nobody in the entertainment industry had ever managed to get Armstrong and Ellington into a recording studio to make an album together. On April 3, 1961, producer Bob Thiele achieved what should be regarded as one of his greatest accomplishments; he organized and supervised a seven-and-a-half-hour session at RCA Victor's Studio One on East 24th Street in Manhattan, using a sextet combining Duke Ellington with Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars. This group included ex-Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard, ex-Jimmie Lunceford swing-to-bop trombonist Trummy Young, bassist Mort Herbert, and drummer Danny Barcelona. A second session took place during the afternoon of the following day.
Louis Armstrong was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music's history. As a trumpet virtuoso, his playing, beginning with the 1920s studio recordings made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, charted a future for jazz in highly imaginative, emotionally charged improvisation. For this, he is revered by jazz fans. But Armstrong also became an enduring figure in popular music, due to his distinctively phrased bass singing and engaging personality, which were on display in a series of vocal recordings and film roles. Armstrong had a difficult childhood. William Armstrong, his father, was a factory worker who abandoned the family soon after the boy's birth…
Louis Armstrong didn't invent jazz, but he is the acknowledged father. From humble beginnings in the notorious Storyville district of New Orleans he rose from singing on street corners to playing with the top hot jazz musicians of the time. It is impossible to overstate Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's importance in jazz: he invented scat singing, he was the first black jazz-man to be welcomed in the upper-echelons of white society and his solos are still dissected and analyzed over 75 years after they were recorded.
A wonderful pairing of jazz giant Louis Armstrong with revered father of the blues composer W.C. Handy. These historic sessions from 1954 and 1956 include St. Louis Blues; Loveless Love , plus five previously unreleased tracks.