Here at last is a Louis Armstrong compilation that focuses upon the recordings he made between 1929 and 1941 with pianist and bandleader Luis Russell. Born August 6, 1902 on Careening Cay, an island in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro off the northwestern coast of Panama, Luis Carl Russell came to New Orleans in 1919. After studying piano with Steve Lewis and working with a band led by Albert Nicholas, Russell relocated to Chicago in 1924. In addition to regular work in bands led by King Oliver and Doc Cooke, Russell took the first steps towards assembling his own group and began making records as a leader in 1926. The following year Russell moved to New York, where he led an excellent big band featuring trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, clarinetist Albert Nicholas, alto saxophonist Charlie Holmes and string bassist Pops Foster. When Louis Armstrong assumed nominal leadership of Russell's band in 1929, the combination of musical minds resulted in recordings that were frankly superior to those made by many of Armstrong's other bands from this period. Although Russell and Armstrong went their separate ways in 1930, they got back together in 1935 and continued to collaborate until 1943. Living Era's Louis & Luis documents their largely underappreciated working relationship.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf