Louis Armstrong

In Scandanavia, Vol. 4: 1959-1967

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The fourth and final compilation covering Louis Armstrong's trips to Scandinavia features performances with two separate groups of all-stars. The 1959 material is superior, with the leader in great form, accompanied by trombonist Trummy Young, clarinetist Peanuts Huckco, pianist Billy Kyle, and drummer Danny Barcelona, with vocalist Velma Middleton added for several songs. The crowd is so enthusiastic in its response to "Tiger Rag" that there are four encores following its initial performance. Armstrong's effusive vocal and powerful trumpet in "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" are a highlight of the show, while his quoted, filled introduction to the lively Latin arrangement of "Kokomo" is a scream, with Middleton sharing the vocal spotlight with the leader in a sidesplitting exchange. Mort Herbert is featured prominently in "Christopher Columbus," amusing the audience with several quotes including "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." The 1967 concert isn't up to Armstrong's usual level, as he was bedridden with pneumonia for nearly two months prior to his overseas trip and was clearly not yet feeling up to par by the time of the performance. So he takes a less prominent role in this show, relying more on vocals, starting with his hit "Mack the Knife." Armstrong's trumpet is a bit lackluster in"Back O'Town Blues" and "St. James Infirmary" as it lacks his normal power. "Cabaret" is an atypical choice for Armstrong, but it provides a bit of novelty when compared to his typical sets of the late '60s. Trombonist Tyree Glenn, clarinetist Joe Muranyi, and pianist Marty Napoleon join him, with bassist Buddy Catlett and Danny Barcelona rounding out the band.

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