Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th Century thanks to the way he improvised with his trumpet. Among non-jazz fans, "Satchmo" is best known for singing ballads like "What a Wonderful World".Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1901. By the mid-20s he had moved to Chicago and was recording seminal jazz standards such as "Weatherbird", "Muggles" and "West End Blues". His trumpet improvisations on records such as these led to jazz shifting from a musical style that involved many musicians playing a set tune together to a form that concentrated on solo.
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.
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.
In the late 1940s, Louis Armstrong disbanded his orchestra and returned to the small group format, resulting in the birth of his legendary "All Stars" band.
In its original incarnation, it was a truly all-star quintet, which boasted the great Earl Hines, Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard and Sidney Catlett as its other members. Sustaining a group that included so many former leaders was not easy, and although the name remained, the components changed. This 1962 concert at Stockholm, for instance, presents none of the original members except for Louis himself. The band members proved effective accompanists for the group's primary star. Most of them were well known jazz figures.
In 1970, Louis Armstrong went to the Newport Jazz Festival as a special guest to perform his own set, but also to be honored by friends and admirers on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Louis Armstrong: Good Evening Ev'rybody is a document of that event, a collection of interviews, backstage rehearsal footage, and performances. It's footage that had remained unreleased until now. The concert film is an amazing discovery, a surprising time capsule that needed to be unearthed.
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.
In the spring of 1959, when Louis Armstrong took the stage in Belgium to play the concert captured on this DVD, he had much to smile about. The irrepressible trumpeter and singer had cut his first records with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band some thirty-six years earlier. In the interim, he had completely redefined the possibilities of both instrumental jazz and popular singing. His concept of what it meant to swing had become the very essence of jazz rhythm, and his ceaseless ability to create coherent melodic improvisations over a given set of chord changes had reconstructed the very nature of the jazz ensemble.
This box set contains 300 tracks, digitally remastered and compiled over 15 discs. Includes all of Louis Armstrong's hits, hundreds of rarities and the complete discography.
A wonderful artifact, this is a prime slice of the latter-day Satchmo with a small all-stars band working through a relatively typical set. The performance ranges from solid to excellent, with the occasional odd flub (such as the uncertain return after Danny Barcelona's first drum solo on "Basin Street Blues"), but the quality of the recording is the key element. The Mobile Fidelity gold CD edition adds three tracks to the Storyville original, and provides a clear, uncluttered sound field with excellent separation. The resulting album is a treat to hear. ~ Steven McDonald, Rovi