Louis Armstrong

New Orleans Nights

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Verve's 2008 reissue of New Orleans Nights, a Louis Armstrong album originally released on Decca in 1957, is a compilation of recordings made in 1950 and 1954 by two different bands operating under the noble mantle of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars. "Panama," "New Orleans Function," "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It," and "Bugle Call Rag" testify to the integrity of the earlier group, with Armstrong leading Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines, Arvell Shaw, and Cozy Cole, who is granted extra long drum breaks during the "Bugle Call Rag." On "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and "Basin Street Blues," Tea is replaced by Trummy Young, Hines by Billy Kyle, and Cole by Kenny John. Tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman sat in on "Basin Street"; it's a pity that he didn't participate on "Barbecue," as the warmth and ease that characterizes this elegant update of Lil Hardin Armstrong's magnum opus would have fit Freeman's personality like a favorite pair of argyles.

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