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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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LOUIS ARMSTRONG

Live in Amsterdam 1959

Solar 4569891

 

 


1. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
2. Back Home Again In Indiana
3. Basin Street Blues
4. Tiger Rag
5. Now You Has Jazz
6. That Old Rugged Cross
7. Sweet Georgia Brown
8. Autumn Leaves
9. The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
10. I Get Ideas (Adios Muchachos)
11. I Cover The Waterfront
12. Mack The Knife
13. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
14. Struttin' With Some Barbecue
15. C'est Si Bon
16. La Vie En Rose
17. Muskrat Ramble
18. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Louis Armstrong - Trumpet, vocals
Trummy Young - Trombone, vocals
Peanuts Hucko - Clarinet
Billy Kyle - Piano
Mort Herbert - Bass
Danny Barcelona - Drums

 

Louis Armstrong's All Stars received criticism from snooty reviewers who disapproved of Louis' showmanship and the inclusion of popular songs in his repertoire. They also baulked at the fact that Louis sometimes played the same solo on particular tunes, even though these were classic solos which Armstrong had refined and perfected over the years.

On this CD, you can hear how he put his heart and soul into every performance and his showmanship was part of that involvement. When this album was recorded in 1959, the All Stars (despite numerous personnel changes) had been touring since 1947 and continued to do so until 1971, the year when Louis died. Armstrong cared about professionalism and he always tried to give audiences value for money. Even Trummy Young played superbly although he was suffering from a bad stomach ulcer.

The energy put into the music by the whole band is evident in such tracks as Basin Street Blues, where the tempo is doubled to raise the temperature, and Tiger Rag, which is taken at a hectic pace even though Armstrong was already in his sixties.

He allows his lips some rest by leaving the stage while band members are featured. Pianist Billy Kyle (famous from his years with the John Kirby Sextet) is featured on a gentlemanly That Old Rugged Cross and a vigorous Sweet Georgia Brown. Clarinettist Peanuts Hucko takes the spotlight for the rhapsodic Autumn Leaves and the joyful The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise (in which the ensemble enters towards the end). And bassist Mort Herbert is featured on I Cover The Waterfront.

Louis probably felt obliged to perform his hits, which include Mack The Knife and Now You Has Jazz (from the film High Society) where the vocals are shared with Trummy Young (introduced by Louis as "Bing Crosby in technicolour"!).

The tracks on this CD have not been issued before. And they are supplemented by six more tracks recorded later on the band's European tour, which ended abruptly when Louis had a heart attack in Italy on 18 July. The highlights here are a gently rocking Struttin' With Some Barbecue (with a delicately paced solo from Trummy Young) and an equally measured C'est Si Bon, with a typically idiosyncratic Armstrong vocal.

This CD is a bargain at any price, with 78 minutes of fine music which proves that Louis Armstrong was a unique and committed jazzman.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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