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.
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).
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
Kid Ory was one of the great New Orleans pioneers, an early trombonist who virtually defined the "tailgate" style (using his horn to play rhythmic bass lines in the front line behind the trumpet and clarinet) and who was fortunate enough to last through the lean years so he could make a major comeback in the mid-'40s. Originally a banjoist, Ory soon switched to trombone and by 1911 was leading a popular band in New Orleans. Among his trumpeters during the next eight years were Mutt Carey, King Oliver and a young Louis Armstrong and his clarinetists included Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet, and Jimmie Noone. In 1919, Ory moved to California and in 1922 (possibly 1921) recorded the first two titles by a Black New Orleans jazz band ("Ory's Creole Trombone" and "Society Blues") under the band title of Spike's Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra. In 1925 he moved to Chicago, played regularly with King Oliver, and recorded many classic sides with Oliver, Louis Armstrong (in his Hot Five and Seven), and Jelly Roll Morton, among others.
W.C. Clark is known as the "Godfather of Austin Blues" and is among the best-loved guitarists and vocalists in the blues world. In addition to his popular and critical acclaim, Clark won W.C. Handy Awards for "Blues Song of the Year" and "Best Blues/Soul Record" and has been nominated for "Male Soul Artist of the Year". Clark has been playing for over 50 years and been mentoring countless young blues and soul players in Austin for almost as long……
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.