Louis Armstrong: The Complete Okeh Columbia & RCA Victor Recordings 1925-1933 (Okeh/Columbia/RCA/Legacy 8869794565 2)
Box Set with 10 CDs
Liner notes by Ricky Riccardi, archivist at the Louis Armstrong House & Museum, author of What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years (Pantheon, 2011).
Nearly nine decades after his first Okeh recordings in Chicago as a leader, the Hot Five and Hot Seven sides of 1925 through 1928 by Louis Armstrong (1900-1971) retain their place as western pop music's Holy Grail, Rosetta Stone, and Big Bang all rolled into one. His vocalizing and solo improvising on cornet showed the world how to swing on the seminal Hot Five recordings of "Heebie Jeebies," "Cornet Chop Suey," and "Muskrat Ramble," and his Hot Seven takes of "Potato Head Blues," "Twelfth Street Rag," "S.O.L. Blues," "That's When I'll Come Back To You," "Struttin With Some Barbecue," "Savoy Blues" and so many others. CD Four is devoted to his work alongside pianist Earl Hines in Louis Armstrong & His Stompers ("Chicago Breakdown"), Carroll Dickerson's Stompers (the lost Argentine sides "Symphonic Raps" and "Savoyagers Stomp"), the Hot Five ("West End Blues," "Basin Street Blues," more) and of course the Savoy Ballroom Five with Don Redman ("No One Else But You," "Beau Koo Jack," "Weather Bird," "Muggles," "St. James Infirmary," "Tight Like This" and more).
In 1929, the newly formed Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra began recording in New York, his new home (CD Five and Six's "Knockin' A Jug," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue," "Some Of These Days," "When You're Smiling," "After You've Gone," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "St. Louis Blues," "Rockin' Chair," "Tiger Rag," "I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas," "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)," "Body And Soul," and more). Lionel Hampton (on drums!) enters the picture on Louis' first Los Angeles recordings in 1930 ("You're Drivin' Me Crazy," "Just a Gigolo," "Shine," and more), and the Orchestra keeps turning out the hits back in Chicago for OKeh in 1931 and '32 (CD Seven and Eight): "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," "Them There Eyes," "Stardust," "Georgia On My Mind," "Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea," "Kickin' the Gong Around," and more.
Finally, for the first time in any Legacy package, Louis' Okeh years share the spotlight with his move to Victor in late-1932, as heard on CD Nine and Ten's three dozen tracks. This litany of Nipper sides includes ""That's My Home," "I've Got the World On a String," "High Society," "Swing, You Cats," "Laughin' Louie," "Sweet Sue, Just You," "St. Louis Blues," "You'll Wish You'd Never Been Born," and much more. The ten-CD package ends with Louis (and wife Lil on piano) backing Victor giant Jimmie Rodgers on his "Blue Yodel #9," recorded in Los Angeles, July 1930.
For jazz purists, it is important to note that this box set does not include the various sides that Armstrong recorded as a sideman, i.e. not under his own name, with such blues/pop singers as Maggie Jones on Columbia in 1924 ("Good Times Flat Blues," "Poor House Blues," and so on); and Lillie Delk Christian on OKeh in 1928 ( "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," and so on).
(Note: CDs One through Seven reprise the first out-of-print seven volumes on Louis Armstrong from the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces series, released 1988 to 1993.)
- Louis Armstrong & The Hot Fives Volume 1 (1925-1926)
- Louis Armstrong: The Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 2 (1926-1927)
- Louis Armstrong: The Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 3 (1927-1928)
- Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines (1927-1928)
- Louis in New York (1929)
- St Louis Blues (1929-1930)
- You're Driving Me Crazy (1930-1931)
- Stardust (1931-1932)
- Swing, You Cats (1932-1933)
- Laughin' Louie (1933, 1932, 1930)