This album compiles a variety of nuggets from the recorded history of Louis Armstrong and his various groups, running from 1929 to 1966. The earlier recordings were made for the OKeh label and the later ones for Columbia or an affiliate. The recordings were made in New York City, Chicago, and Milan, Italy. The selections include his 1929 version of "Ain't Misbehavin'" with his Orchestra and other tunes Armstrong pretty much made his own, such as "Mack the Knife," "Long Gone (From the Bowlin' Green)," and "When It's Sleepy Time Down South." Most of the cuts were made with various iterations of his All-Stars during the 1954-1956 period. These combos included such favorite playing partners of that time as Trummy Young, Edmond Hall, and Billy Kyle. "Cabaret" was recorded in 1966 and featured Tyree Glenn and Buster Bailey. "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" has Young humming along underneath Armstrong. There's also a rather off-center, tongue-in-cheek instrumental version of "Twelfth Street Rag" from a live Milan performance featuring some gutbucket trombone by Young. In addition to the vocalizing, there's some respectable trumpet work done by Armstrong, not only on the earlier cuts but on some of the later ones as well, especially some fancy fingering on "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now," which also highlights Barney Bigard's clarinet. This CD is a good recapitulation of Armstrong's work covering a period of more than 35 years, and is recommended.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan