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.
A wonderful meeting of two institutions of American music, this 1954 album was the finest recording of Louis Armstrong's later career, with the great trumpeter-singer turning to material that was very close to his roots. Both W.C. Handy and Armstrong had a complex relationship with the blues, an essential source for both Handy's popular songs and Armstrong's improvisational art, and these recordings touch on the heart of the matter. On "Yellow Dog Blues," a product of Handy's own early and chance encounter with the rural blues, there's a majesty that recalls Armstrong's early recordings with Bessie Smith. ~ Amazon
William Christopher Handy (Alabama, 1873-1958) was a musician and composer, considered by his work among the most influential in America. It was called 'The Father of the Blues' because, although it was not the first to publish music in that style, he managed to raise it to be one of the dominant styles of American music. Louis Armstrong also felt a deep connection with the 'blues'. He made this album in 1954 with the collaboration of Handy and accompanied by his best musical training, the 'All Stars' (Barney Bigard on clarinet, Trummy Young on trombone, Arvell Shaw on bass, Billy Kyle on piano, Barrett Deems on drums and the great voice of Velma Middleton).
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.
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.