An Early Portrait

Louis Armstrong

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An Early Portrait Review

by Scott Yanow

Although Louis Armstrong gets top billing on this LP, he is actually placed in the role of an important sideman rather than a leader on these early recordings. He is heard jamming with The Red Onion Jazz Babies (a group that mostly backs the vocals of Alberta Hunter but does allocate some solo space for the young cornetist in addition to the soprano-great Sidney Bechet), accompanying blues singers Ma Rainey (the original version of "See See Rider") and Trixie Smith, and taking a short spot on "Everybody Loves My Baby" with Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra. All of the material on this LP has since been reissued in much more complete fashion on CD.