During 1924-26 (and to a lesser extent 1927-30), Louis Armstrong appeared as a sideman on a series of sessions by a variety of blues-oriented singers. All of these recordings are included on this attractive six-CD set issued by the English Affinity label (which also includes a lengthy booklet), Armstrong's cornet (and, by 1928, trumpet) is heard backing and occasionally taking solos on record dates led by singers Ma Rainey, Virginia Liston, Eva Taylor, Alberta Hunter, Margaret Johnson, Sippie Wallace, Maggie Jones, Clara Smith, Bessie Smith, Trixie Smith, Billy Jones, Grant and Wilson, Perry Bradford, Chippie Hill, Blanche Calloway, Hociel Thomas, Baby Mack, Nolan Welsh, Butterbeans and Susie, Lillie Delk Christian, Seger Ellis, Victoria Spivey and even the country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers ("Blue Yodel No. 9"). The Bessie Smith recordings are the most powerful but there are other memorable selections including those with the remarkably nasal Lillie Delk Christian (Armstrong even joins in and scats during "Too Busy"), Eva Taylor (during "Mandy Make up Your Mind" soprano-great Sidney Bechet switches to the remarkable sarrusophone), Eva Taylor (Armstrong's solo on "Cake Walking Babies from Home" was one of his first great ones), Chippie Hill (the original version of "Trouble in Mind") and Ma Rainey (the earliest recording of "See See Rider"). These recordings on a whole are not as essential as his own classic sessions from the 1920s so this perfectly packaged set is recommended mostly to the more fanatical early jazz and blues collectors rather than the more general listeners who are advised to get Armstrong's Hot Five recordings first.
Louis Armstrong and the Blues Singers: 1924-1930 Review
by Scott Yanow