on November 11, 2012
Having just finished listening to the 10th and final CD of this set, I have to say I'm disappointed -- not by the music, of course (except here and there), but by the quality of the remastering, especially in the crucial earlier recordings. These come across as rather dead and muffled, I assume due to heavy-handed noise reduction.
The 4-disc JSP set is considerably cheaper and has a noticeably more open sound. Admittedly it's also a bit noisier, but the trade-off is well worth it. This set covers roughly the same material as the first 5 and half CDs of the new Sony release. As for the last 4 and half CDs of the new set, there are certainly some gems, but not many. The two discs of RCA material in particular are rather weak. On the plus side, the remastering is better on this later material.
One other nit: track 17 of disc 8 is listed as "Love, You Funny Thing", when in fact it's "Lord, You Made the Night Too Long", one of the nicer 1932 performances.
Lately Sony has been doing a better job of remastering than they used to. The recent Robert Johnson is a good example. Sadly, the Armstrong set is not. But then it's not clear this is a remaster at all, as opposed to a re-packaging of remasters done 10-15 years ago.
on September 11, 2013
There is a very detailed description of this set on Ricky Riccardi's dippermouth blog. He is probably the #1 Louis expert in the world, and explains that this set does include the same old versions of various hot 5s & 7s tracks at the wrong speed. The two ways to go for the hot 5s & 7s material is either the 2000 Sony Box by Phil Schaap (which is great, with a nice booklet) or the JSP box (also worthy).
This set had potential, as some of the later material can be harder to find. Sadly, that's about the only good thing offered here.
on November 7, 2012
To say that this is some of the most important music recorded on this planet is an understatement. But don't let that statement let you think that there's anything "serious" about this music, Louis was certainly serious about his art but the music itself is beautiful, exciting, moving, soulful, joyous, fun and in some cases downright comedic. The genius that is Louis Armstrong, lived life to the full and his music celebrated life.
This 10 CD set is beautifully produced and at $6 a CD it's a total bargain and most importantly the music is simply indispensable in any album collection. Buy it now and listen to genius personified.
Very, very, very, highly recommended!