This Louis Armstrong sampler boils the four-disc Complete RCA Victor Recordings down to 16 key tracks, making it in many ways the better purchase for all but the most ardent jazz collector. Armstrong recorded intermittently for RCA between 1930 and 1947, often in sessions that were thrown together rather quickly, and there is a slight but tangible drop in joy and energy from the legendary Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of the mid- to late '20s, but this is still Louis Armstrong in his prime, and saying that these are lesser recordings would be a case of splitting hairs. The fact remains that you can only be the first one in the water once, and Armstrong's recorded output will always be measured to some degree by the Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions, which doesn't by any means make these RCA sides dismissible. At the very least, this single-disc summation of the larger RCA set makes for a neat addendum to the classic Hot Fives and Hot Sevens.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett