Louis Armstrong

Struttin' [Drive Archive]

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A legendary, much-bootlegged concert recorded at Carnegie Hall on February 8, 1947, with Edmond Hall's All-Stars, this concert marks a pivotal moment in Louis Armstrong's postwar career. The second set of the evening was a standard big band performance with Hall's full orchestra, much like the performances Armstrong had been giving since the demise of the Hot Seven and the formation of his own big band nearly 20 years before. However, for the first set (which is the only one included here), Armstrong played in front of an informal small combo featuring Hall on clarinet, "Mousie" Randolph on second trumpet, Henderson Chambers on trombone, Ellis Larkins on piano, Johnny Williams on bass, and Jimmy Crawford on drums, making this his first major appearance in front of a small group in close to two decades. Perhaps it's the novelty of the smaller arrangements, or enthusiasm over a chance to re-emphasize his playing over his singing, but Armstrong gives one of the greatest live performances of his later career here. His spirit for once again playing the standards of his early career, like "Dippermouth Blues" and "You Rascal You," is infectious. Clearly, it was inspirational for Armstrong at the time: by the end of 1947, he dissolved his big band and formed his own combo, also called the All-Stars, and adapted most of these songs into their repertoire. While the sound quality of this disc is unfortunately primitive, the historical import of the performances overshadows the technical problems.

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