In 2007, Concord and the Monterey Jazz Festival joined forces to celebrate the fiftieth edition of the long running festival by launching a special project, issuing selected performances from the vast Monterey Jazz Festival recorded archives held by the Braun Music Library of Stanford University. This CD comes from the opening night set by Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars at the very first Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958. Armstrong had developed a fairly set routine by this point in his career, playing and singing a mix of classic jazz, swing, songs from movies and pop. Joining him are trombonist Trummy Young, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, pianist Billy Kyle, bassist Mort Hebert and drummer Danny Barcelona, with vocalist Velma Middleton added for three songs at the end of the show. Armstrong has the audience in the palm of his hand throughout the concert, whether playing, singing or doing a bit of comedy. Hucko and the vastly underrated Billy Kyle also solo with gusto, though Young's blustery playing in "Undecided" comes off a bit ham-handed. The source material survived the years surprisingly well, with few audio flaws, aside from musicians occasionally moving away from the microphones and excessively loud drums at times. This is a promising start to what will hopefully become a long running CD series that is sure to be treasured by jazz aficionados.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden
feat: Dizzy Gillespie