This music changed my life when I was eighteen or so, and I can recall staring fixedly into the speaker, listening as hard as I could. I know there are many Louis Armstrong CDs and downloads for sale; I know there are many All-Stars reissues that cover the final quarter-century of his life. But this one is special, not only because it catches the front line in astonishing form, but because it preserves an edition of the All-Stars with the brilliant and neglected pianist Dick Cary, AND it might be the most extended documentation (in good sound) of the late pairing of Louis and Sidney Catlett, men who inspired each other tremendously. There is THIRTY MINUTES of material no one has heard before. Add to this spectacularly precise and enthusiastic annotations by the young master Ricky Riccardi, who knows more about later Louis than is allowed by law . . . it's an essential purchase. It made me feel eighteen again, with none of my youthful awkwardness.
Someone asked me once, "If I were on a desert island and only had one album, what would it be?" I said " Sacthmo At Symphony Hall," I got it when I was in high school as I always loved live albums. I had all the Jazz At The Philharmonic albums. As I was a musician I flipped over the soul that this music had. There was another album by, basically, The same group at The Hollywood Empire which was very good but just not the same. That goes for other later All Star albums with different personal. There was something magical about this night, the sound, the playing and the fun they were having. As a drummer, this concert made me a fan of Big Sid. I heard and saw the greats Krupa, Rich, Bellson etc. but no one had The taste of Sid. His 2 drum solos, tasty, the fill at the end of Lover, remarkable, the fact the he doesn't play a fill or a drum beat when Louis takes his trumpet break coming out of the last bridge of Sunny Side. I don't know any drummer, including me, that wouldn't play something there. Barney's Body And Soul, one of the best. Teagarden, what can you say but he's the greatest noodleer behind singers there ever was. I loved Stars Fell On Alabama so much I kept playing it over and over, I wore it out. In fact I ended up buying at least 10 over a period of years. Lastly The Sunny Side Of The Street is maybe one of the best 4 choruses ever. Louis 2 vocal choruses, is Louis at his best. Teagarden's two 1st eights of the last chorus, Filled with soul. And of course Satches' break coming out of the bridge. I have tears in my eyes every time I hear this performance. I've been a successful musician since my teens and have played classical, jazz, rock, and I was an arranger. this is my opinion about this, but this album is special to me. I just ordered it and can't wait to hear the 30 minutes of new material.
First, to address a complaint below about packaging. If you're worried that the cardboard will scratch your CD, slide each one into a plastic sleeve to protect it. Done.
Now for the real review: The 2 CD's come in a small hard-cover booklet that contains 25 pages of commentary and pictures. And that's just the packaging! Like I said, wow!
When I played the first song, I was worried because I heard a good bit of hiss and pop, but Lordy, when Louis and the All-Stars get cranking on Muskrat Ramble, the first full song of the set, the reproduction is clear, clear. For example, Arvell Shaw's bass comes through better than on any other All-Stars CD I own. You'll have a hard time believing this is a live recording of a 1947 concert.
I recall listening to my fathers Decca record of "Symphony Hall" many years ago- this was one of my more favorite Louis Armstrong albums.
I was very pleased with sound quality of CD. Louis Armstrong has performed many outstanding concerts, any concert album should make an excelent addition to anyones music collection. Yet this album having several "all - stars" in their own right performing moves this album to the top of the list. I particularly enjoyed Jack Teagardens rendition of "Lover" and "Stars Fell On Alabama". I've already pressed the "BACK" button several times listening to this album.
Loved every minute of it. The music is as exciting and fresh as if it were recorded yesterday. This was the beginning of the All Stars. Quite a few of the numbers they played that night do not appear in the later All Star recordings. There is less of the comedy that developed later between Louis and Vera Middleton. It was Sid Catlett's last appearance but listening to his drumming no one could have guessed he was so ill. Jack Teagarden and Barney Bigard fans will appreciate the opportunity Louis gave them for beautiful solos as well as their ensemble work. This concert was triumph in every way. It set the standard for many of the following great years of the All Stars. It is by far the most enjoyable of my Satchmo collection.
Exciting music...you've got to love Louis after hearing this. As stated previously, some of the intros sound a little scratchy but the music itself has been remastered beautifully. This is a top notch concert by one of the top notch performer (THE top notch perhaps) and his all star band from their first year. It's a pure pleasure to listen to!
Louis is my guy so an automatic five fir this set. It is great to see this set back in print again. Thanks Bob Porter. The all stars are as usual wonderful. The sound is good and the notes informative. This was a great gift that I should have bought for myself.
This is a wonderful jazz album! I saw a different lineup of the All-Stars a few years later than this performance and it was something that has stuck in my memory as one of the most memorable of experiences. Unfortunately I didn't see Big Sid Catlett on the drums (not that Barrett Deems was all that bad). This is a seminal performance by the Armstrong All-Stars, trust me. It illustrates the Armstrong All-Star band at a time when it was at its apex. Barney Bigard was amazing. Dick Cary on piano was one of the more unique pianists that Armstrong corralled. Louis, of course, was Louis. The only reason for not giving it five stars is that at a couple of points in the performance the audio gets a little scratchy to the point that it is irritatingly noticeable.