In this package of Armstrong recordings, we bring Louis’ complete recorded output for the Decca label from 1935 to 1946 - a time when many thought he was selling out under the aegis of his manager Joe Glaser. However, as these seven discs will attest, Armstrong was to reach another high water mark of his career. A time after the majesty of the Hot 5 and 7 recordings, these recordings testify that the creative genius was still growing and solidifying.
Bottom line…these recordings are pure joy. While on the radio close to 25 years ago, I had the opportunity to interview a good friend, the wonderful pianist and veteran of Louis’ All-Stars during the ‘50s and then later again in the ‘60s, Marty Napoleon. I remember him saying that you couldn’t dislike Louis – everybody loved him. And that sort of magnetism and charm came through in his performances, especially on record. He was – and is - a hugely influential genius, that broke racial barriers in the most natural way. By just being himself.
We’re also very pleased to have Dan Morgenstern once again write the liner notes for this compilation. As Dan once remarked to me at the Institute of Jazz Studies some time ago, “I think there’s no better way to begin one’s day than listening to either a Louis Armstrong or Fats Waller recording”.