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Louis Armstrong: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (Remastered)

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Album Review

Most of the music on this four-CD set from 1997 has been reissued many times, both on LP and CD, but this is the most "complete" set thus far. Louis Armstrong recorded for RCA during two separate times. During 1932-1933, he led an erratic (and under-rehearsed) big band on a series of numbers, but all of the selections have their moments of interest. Although not up to the level of his Hot Five and Seven recordings of five years earlier, these spirited tracks find Armstrong mostly in excellent form both instrumentally and vocally, and the reissue has four alternate takes never released before. Highlights include the two-part "Hits Medley," "That's My Home," "I've Got the World on a String," "There's a Cabin in the Pines," "Hustlin' and Bustlin' for Baby," a unique 1930 collaboration with country singer Jimmie Rodgers, and the two bizarre versions of "Laughin' Louis." The second half of the reissue features Armstrong during 1946-1947, including appearances with the Esquire poll winners (Louis takes a surprisingly modern solo on "Snafu"), the last titles by his big band, a few wonderful combo performances (including the classic "Jack-Armstrong Blues"), and the first songs by Armstrong's All-Stars (co-starring Jack Teagarden); this collection concludes with two unrelated 1956 orchestral tracks. Overall, this is wonderful music, although collectors who already have everything other than the alternates have a right to hesitate.


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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