Satchmo at Pasadena provides an enjoyable but incomplete presentation of Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars recorded live on January 1, 1951. The Pasadena Civic Auditorium concert found Armstrong fronting an edition of the All-Stars with trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Barney Bigard, pianist Earl Hines, bassist Arvell Shaw, Cozy Cole on drums, and vocalist Velma Middleton on two tracks. At the time of this concert, musicians began to take advantage of the new LP format that allowed them to bypass the usual three-minute time constraints of 78 rpm and stretch out a bit. Armstrong was no exception, and even though Satchmo is more of the ringleader/vocalist/showman on this set, the All-Stars provide some heated improvising, especially Hines on "Honeysuckle Rose" and Bigard's clarinet solo on the otherwise knockabout version of "Just You, Just Me." To properly capture what a well-rounded performance this is, it should be heard in its entirety, exemplified by the out of print four-CD compilation The California Concerts, which included the complete Pasadena set and a gig at the Crescendo club in L.A. the following evening. Since this reissue is an exact reproduction of the 1951 Decca LP, the songs are not only out of sequence but numerous tracks are omitted. It's too bad Verve didn't simply reissue the entire concert, which would have been preferable over the lavish attention paid to reproducing the original packaging.
Satchmo at Pasadena Review
by Al Campbell