This memorial package was rushed out on RCA after Satchmo's death in 1971, and contains an excellent collection of his work, although not going as far back as to include anything from the '20s. Even in death, the great man could influence jazz, as this double-album set was a maiden voyage in the concept of packaging jazz reissues in this way, a concept that caught on well enough to establish the "two-fer" as the way to go for any record label with an inventory of jazz titles. RCA certainly had a pile of Louis Armstrong recordings to work from, and what is delightful here is the number of pieces that, if not exactly obscure, at least are not the warhorses trotted out in many more glib reissues or the man's stage show itself. Combos featured include an orchestra, as well as Louis Armstrong & His Hot Six and Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars. "Joseph 'N His Brudders," "No Variety Blues," "Some Day You'll Be Sorry," and the concluding and typically optimistic "I Never Saw a Better Day" are only a few of the many highlights on this well-constructed set. This compliment is meant literally: A good grade of cardboard was used for the original fabrication, and this two-fer remains in good shape decades after its release, while many others have practically crumbled, the strength of the music in the grooves notwithstanding. On the other hands, some of these shoddily manufactured collections took the music itself a bit more seriously, providing much more detail. No information is included on publishing on this set; the songs are either credited to Armstrong or "unknown," not always true in either case. An even worse oversight is the lack of any instrumental credits.
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne
feat: Velma Middleton