Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the key turning points of Louis Armstrong's career occurred at the Town Hall concert fully documented on this two-CD set, a reissue of the earlier two-LP release. Armstrong, who had been leading a big band for 18 years, was showcased with some musical friends who were all very complementary players (including trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko and cornetist Bobby Hackett), and the results were so exciting that Armstrong soon broke up his orchestra to form a similar all-star sextet.
For the first time, all of Ella & Louis' classic duets are in one place. This 4CD set gathers their timeless three Verve albums newly remastered versions of Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess combining them with their eight Decca singles, live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl plus several alternates & false starts from the Decca & Verve eras, illuminating their craft & good humor. The set also includes an extensive essay by Ricky Riccardi.
Culled from fairly representative 1959 live recordings of two different versions of Satchmo's All Stars band, SINGIN' AND PLAYIN' suffers from poor sound quality. As always, however, Armstrong's joy and exuberance manage to shine through. The first three tracks are from the excellent Trummy Young/Billy Kyle version of the All Stars, arguably the band best matched to Armstrong's unique combination of serious jazz and comedic routines. Listeners interested in this lineup, however, would do well to also pick up the sublime MACK THE KNIFE or THE GREAT CHICAGO CONCERT 1956. The remaining seven tracks feature an altogether different All Stars which included vibraphonist Tyree Glenn and clarinetist Marty Napoleon.
Nat Hentoff prefaced his 1956 down beat review of Verve's first Ella Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong collaboration with a prediction: "Ella and Louis is one of the very, very few albums to have been issued in this era of the LP flood that is sure to endure for decades." Today, those sublime performances, along with two subsequent Norman Granz-produced Fitzgerald-Armstrong albums, are regarded as milestones of American music. A dozen gems from these works are presented here.