Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong Memorial

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As far as a memorial created in Italy, this album is hardly going to rival the Victor Emmanuel Monument. It is a typically cheap Joker bootleg in the "Il Re Del Jazz" series that looks like a newspaper tabloid and uses up much of the back cover space with a list of other records available on the label, as if anyone looked for records on the Joker label. No, these are records that are passed off on people, that people get when someone dies or dumps several huge boxes of garbage at the used record pile. These are records that are found under a rock, although one hesitates to subject the fine Armstrong music to such potential erosion. The music of course by itself deserves a much higher rating, yet in fairness to the many other much more generous collections of Armstrong's material, the genius of the man himself should not be used as an excuse to bolster the ratings of hack bootleg collections. This one was put together the year Armstrong died, when they were still busy tossing dirt on the coffin, knowing Joker. Most of the material is readily available elsewhere. Culled from sessions from the mid-'40s onward, the set is over in a wink, but does include a fun "I Lost My Heart in Salt Lake City," a smoothly-working "New Orleans Function," and a nice, long version of "Rockin' Chair."

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