On December 3, 1963, at age 62, when most folks are thinking about retirement, Louis Armstrong recorded the sprightly "Hello, Dolly!," the title song for a Broadway show. Thus began a six year-long series of recordings that brought arguably most important 20th Century musician back into the limelight and, in fact, gave him his greatest recording successes ever.
This 10-CD set is as good a compendium of the genius of Louis Armstrong as anyone could wish for. It’s all here: the early years with the King Oliver and Fletcher Henderson bands, the glorious period of the Hot Fives and Sevens, the big band recordings of the Thirties, the collaborations with contemporaries such as Ella Fitzgerald. Then there are the later recordings, when Satchmo’s celebrity empowered him to soar over many political and racial divides. There’s also a fascinating unreleased Hollywood Bowl concert from 1956, a CD of “out-takes” from recording sessions, and a revealing interview with Dan Morgenstern.
Louis Armstrong's tenure as second cornetist to the great King Oliver is one of jazz history's legendary apprenticeships, on par with the one Miles Davis served with Charlie Parker or Stephane Grappelli's with Django Reinhardt. Sadly, only a handful of recordings survive from this formative period in Armstrong's career. This LP features 18 of King Oliver's 1923 recordings with Armstrong, as well as a bonus appendix consisting of seven tracks recorded in 1924 by the Red Onion Jazz Babies under Armstrong's sole leadership (and featuring, on one number, a very young Alberta Hunter). The performances are as red-hot as you'd expect, and include two King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton duets.
Recorded in 1957, Ella & Louis Again re-teams Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong after the success of their first album and a popular series of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl the previous year. Stylistically, Fitzgerald and Armstrong had very different histories; he started out in Dixieland before branching out into classic jazz and swing, whereas Fitzgerald started out as a swing-oriented big-band vocalist before becoming an expert bebopper…
The 43 tracks that make up the first part of the The Complete Decca Studio Master Takes 1940-1949 of Louis Armstrong are remarkable not only for the outstanding performances they reflect, but for the many settings Armstrong recorded in during the era. While none of this material will come as a surprise to collectors, those who are starting to check out Armstrong's post-New Orleans period would do themselves a favor in scoping this collection because the Decca years, even more so than his long tenure with Verve, showcase Armstrong at the pinnacle of American popular music, and that that music happens to be jazz is even more revelatory.
24-bit remastered French exclusive compilation is packaged in a well designed digipak. 24 tracks performed by Louis Armstrong with various ensembles, His Hot Five, His Hot Seven, His Orchestra, Savoy Ballroom Five & others.