The Second Disc

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Hello (Again), Louis! “Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz” Distilled to Four Discs For U.S. Release

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A favorite box set of both The Second Disc and Mr. Elvis Costello, Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz is the hefty 10-CD treasure trove issued in the U.K. by Universal Music in 2011.  The first comprehensive career-spanning look at the great bandleader’s life in music, Satchmo is housed in a case resembling one of Armstrong’s actual travel trunks, and includes a 200-page hardcover book in addition to some select sheet music replicas.  Yet despite Armstrong’s central place in the annals of American music, the set wasn’t initially released on U.S. shores.  Verve, an arm of Universal Music, is rectifying this somewhat with the January 10 issue of a 4-CD “highlights” set from the original box.

Verve is promising that “there is nothing second-rate” about this distillation, which selects 81 tracks out of the larger set’s 186, and includes a 164-page book.  Even the original travel trunk design will be retained, although it’s been considerably scaled down.  Those considering this miniaturized package will be pleased to know that some of the rare and unreleased material unearthed in 2011 has been retained for this edition including alternate takes and live performances.

For those not familiar with the breadth of Armstrong’s titanic discography, it can be divided into a number of periods.  We suggest Scott Johnson and Michael Minn’s online discography as a great place to start exploring!  Sony currently controls the seminal Hot Fives and Hot Sevens period (1925-1928) and the rest of his OKeh period through 1932, as well as his stints at RCA Victor (1932-1933 and 1946-1947) and Columbia (1954-1956). He recorded for Decca for roughly fifteen years between 1935 and 1949. In 1956 he began a tenure at Verve, where he had monumental collaborations with Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson. Following his Verve stint, he briefly returned to Decca and recorded for the original Audio Fidelity label as well as for MGM and Roulette. Satchmo hit a commercial peak when he disrupted the British Invasion thanks to 1964′s Hello, Dolly! on Kapp, but the prolific artist was also was heard on ABC-Paramount, Mercury, EMI, Bluebird, Avco Embassy, Brunswick and Buena Vista! Universal Music Group (the label behind Ambassador of Jazz) today controls the Decca, Verve, ABC-Paramount, Mercury and Kapp recordings.

As of this writing, is offering the U.S. edition of Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz for $65.10.  If you’re looking for a solid introduction to one of the great forces in American music, or feel like gifting a musical education to a loved one, you could hardly do better than this set.  But if you’re serious about Armstrong, jazz or popular music in general, Elvis Costello reminded us that the original, 10-CD box set is a bargain at just $150.00 as of this writing.

Ready to say “Hello, Louis” to an American music legend?  Hit the jump to check out the track listing to the truncated box set.  It’s due in stores on January 10.

Louis Armstrong, Satchmo: Ambassador of Jazz (U.S. Edition – Verve 5336287, 2012)

CD 1

  1. Just Gone
  2. Chimes Blues
  3. Shanghai Shuffle
  4. Copenhagen [Single Version]
  5. St. Louis Blues [Album Version]
  6. Gut Bucket Blues [Album Version]
  7. Heebie Jeebies [Album Version]
  8. Cornet Chop Suey [Album Version]
  9. Muskrat Ramble [Single Version]
  10. New Orleans Stomp
  11. Potato Head Blues
  12. West End Blues [Album Version]
  13. Mahogany Hall Stomp [Album Version]
  14. Blue Yodel No. 9 [1996 Remastered]
  15. Chinatown My Chinatown [Single Version]
  16. I’m In The Mood For Love
  17. Old Man Mose
  18. Ev’ntide [Single Version]
  19. Swing That Music [Single Version]
  20. The Skeleton In The Closet [Single Version]
  21. On A Cocoanut Island [Original Single Version]
  22. The Old Folks At Home (Swanee River)
  23. Jubilee [Single Version]
  24. Struttin’ With Some Barbeque [Single Version]
  25. When The Saints Go Marching In [Single Version]

CD 2 

  1. Nobody Knows De Trouble I’ve Seen
  2. Jeepers Creepers [Single Version]
  3. Perdido Street Blues [Single Version]
  4. I Cover The Waterfront
  5. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South
  6. You Won’t Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart) [Single Version]
  7. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
  8. Back O’Town Blues [Album Version]
  9. Rockin’ Chair
  10. Muskrat Ramble [Live (1947 Symphony Hall) Parts 1 & 2]
  11. That’s My Desire [Live At Symphony Hall, Boston/1947]
  12. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) [Single Version]
  13. Blueberry Hill [Single Version]
  14. You Can’t Lose A Broken Heart [Single Version]
  15. C’est Si Bon (It’s So Good)
  16. La Vie En Rose [Single Version]
  17. Dream A Little Dream Of Me [Single Version]
  18. Baby, It’s Cold Outside [Live At Pasadena Civic Auditorium / Parts 1 & 2 / 1951]
  19. Gone Fishin’ [Live Radio Version]
  20. A Kiss To Build A Dream On [Single Version]

CD 3 

  1. Rockin’ Chair [Live (1955 Crescendo Club)]
  2. Blue Turning Grey Over You [Edited Alternate Version]
  3. Mm-Mm [Take 10]
  4. St. Louis Blues (Concerto Grosso) [Album Version]
  5. Ole Miss Blues [Live At The Hollywood Bowl /1956]
  6. The Bucket’s Got A Hole In It [Live At The Hollywood Bowl /1956]
  7. Mack The Knife [Live At The Hollywood Bowl /1956]
  8. Stars Fell On Alabama [Album Version]
  9. They Can’t Take That Away From Me [Album Version]
  10. Moonlight In Vermont
  11. On The Sunny Side Of The Street [1983 Satchmo Album Version]
  12. When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You) [Without Intro]
  13. King Of The Zulus [Without Intro/1983]
  14. Stompin’ At The Savoy [Album Version]
  15. Love Is Here To Stay [Album Version]

CD 4 

  1. I Get A Kick Out Of You [Album Version]
  2. Stormy Weather
  3. Body And Soul [Album Version]
  4. Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen [Re-record]
  5. I’ve Got The World On A String [Album Version]
  6. Summertime [Album Version]
  7. Bess Oh Where Is My Bess
  8. Indiana [Studio Warm-up]
  9. There’s No You [Album Version]
  10. Let’s Fall In Love [Take 2]
  11. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child [Album Version]
  12. Hello, Dolly! [Album Version]
  13. A Lot Of Livin’ To Do [Album Version]
  14. I Still Get Jealous [Album Version]
  15. Blueberry Hill [Album Version]
  16. Moon River [Album Version]
  17. So Long Dearie
  18. Pretty Little Missy [Take 4]
  19. Cabaret [Single Version]
  20. Mame [Single Version]
  21. What A Wonderful World [Single Version]

For complete discographical information on each track above, please refer to our original post!

Written by Joe Marchese

January 3, 2012 at 10:15

7 Responses

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  1. Wow. This is an extremely comprehensive set. So this is coming out January 10th in the states?

    Best Jazz Books

    January 3, 2012 at 13:30

  2. Hi Joe — Any word on what exactly the dimensions of the scaled-down box are? Thanks.


    January 3, 2012 at 13:50

    • Hi Ed – I have not been able to ascertain the dimensions yet. I’ll report back once I have more info. Thanks!

      Joe Marchese

      January 4, 2012 at 00:06

  3. So, now we have a compilation of a compilation. I’m waiting for the one-disc compilation of a compilation of a compilation. [Actually, I have the ten disc box (which I got for about $90), and about every other Armstrong CD, LP and a batch of 78’s].

    I think it would be more interesting for them to select 10 or 12 classic 78 RPMs and reissue them as true 78 RPMs.

    The cardboard suitcase for the 10 CD box ranks among the worst packaging for all box sets (there are many ties).


    January 3, 2012 at 14:42

    • Rather, a distillation of a compilation. Long familiarity with distilled products has taught me that.


      January 8, 2012 at 11:26

  4. Realizing that the 10-CD set was starting to disappear, I grabbed one in mid-December and have been addicted to it since.

    While I tend to agree that the cardboard packaging of the box has to be treated gingerly (if you don’t get the buckles clasped just right, you might, like I did, split a corner) I think it’s among the coolest ideas ever created for a musical boxed set.

    And the book itself is wonderful. The quality of the photographs…the clarity of them…is remarkable.

    And I am thrilled that the set has also become the favorite of my 11 year old, a new trumpet player.


    January 6, 2012 at 20:51

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