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Louis Armstrong: The Best of the Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1996 Remaster)

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Album Review

This 16-track collection distills a four-disc set down to one, spotlighting this generally unsung period of Armstrong's career. This period, basically 1932-1947, finds him moving from fronting a big band to forming the first versions of the smaller All-Star groups that would carry him the rest of his career. If the bands are a bit stodgy and not up to his standards of brilliance on these sides, you certainly can't fault Armstrong's performances; he's simply at the peak of his powers, blowing with an invention that didn't surface in later years. As a singer, his vocals are effusive and full of spark. Although not as well known as his early and later material, these RCA sides capture some important Armstrong, and here's a nice distillation of a peak period.


Born: 04 August 1901 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

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...
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