The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Verve Select Celebrates 65 Years of Louis Armstrong’s “Live at Symphony Hall” with Complete Edition

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When Decca Records first released Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars’ 1947 concert recorded at Boston’s Symphony Hall in the summer of 1951, the album became an instant best-seller.  Armstrong was a regular recording and touring presence at that time, but concert recordings were gaining popularity in the LP format.  Home listeners were anxious to bring the beloved entertainer and his troupe into their homes and onto their hi-fis.  Satchmo at Symphony Hall was a deluxe product by the era’s standards, a double-album set containing the great majority of the music played by the All-Stars on November 30, 1947.  However, there were edits necessitated by the constraints of LP length.  Four complete performances were absent.  Some internal solos were also cut, as well as the opening and closing themes, and the on-stage announcements.  Now, 65 years later, fans and collectors will finally be able to hear the complete performances of Armstrong and his band on October 16 when Hip-o/Verve Select releases Satchmo At Symphony Hall / 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances.

The Symphony Hall concert has been a mainstay of Armstrong’s discography since its initial release.  It finally arrived on CD in 1996, but reissue producer Orrin Keepnews truncated it to one CD, eliminating three tracks altogether (“I Cried for You,” “That’s My Desire” and “How High the Moon”) and re-sequencing the remaining tracks.  That edition is currently out of print, paving the way for this reconstruction of the complete, original concert (two sets) in one deluxe, 2-CD edition.  Satchmo was joined by vocalist/trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Barney Bigard, pianist Dick Cary, bassist Arvell Shaw, drummer “Big” Sid Catlett and singer Velma Middleton in his rollicking musical revue.

Hit the jump for more details, plus the track listing and pre-order link!

With over two hours of music, roughly thirty minutes of which has never been released, the new Satchmo at Symphony Hall is virtually a new release.   The opening and closing themes and announcements have been restored, while “Back O’Town Blues,” “St. James Infirmary,” “Velma’s Blues” and “Jack Armstrong Blues” are all included.  “Tea for Two,” “Black and Blue” and “Royal Garden Blues” all appear at their full length as originally performed.  Both sets been restored from surviving acetates, vaulted reels and the donated holdings of the late Gosta Hagglof, who willed his vast collection of Armstrong memorabilia to the Louis Armstrong House Museum.  The museum’s archivist, Ricky Riccardi, has added new liner notes to the original ones by Ernie Anderson, the promoter and publicist who recorded the concert.  (Riccardi has also penned new liner notes for Legacy Recordings’ upcoming Armstrong box set, The Complete OKeh, Columbia and RCA Victor Recordings 1925-1933.)  The booklet, housed in a hardback package, also includes vintage photographs and reproductions of the album’s original cover and the artwork for its subsequent releases.

If you’re ready for the kind of rip-roaring musical experience that only Armstrong and his All-Stars could provide, you can pre-order Satchmo at Symphony Hall, in what appears to be its definitive treatment, below!

Louis Armstrong & the All Stars, Satchmo at Symphony Hall / 65th Anniversary: The Complete Performances (Verve Select, 2012)

CD 1 – First Set

  1. Introduction/Tune Up*
  2. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South*
  3. Louis Introduces Musicians*
  4. Muskrat Ramble
  5. (What Did I Do To Be So) Black And Blue**
  6. Royal Garden Blues**
  7. Lover
  8. Stars Fell On Alabama
  9. I Cried For You
  10. Since I Fell For You
  11. Tea For Two**
  12. Body And Soul
  13. Back O’Town Blues*
  14. Steak Face
  15. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (Closing Theme)*

CD 2 – Second Set

  1. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South*
  2. Mahogany Hall Stomp
  3. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
  4. High Society
  5. St. James Infirmary*
  6. Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
  7. Velma’s Blues*
  8. That’s My Desire
  9. “C” Jam Blues
  10. Barney Bigard Introduces Arvell Shaw*
  11. How High The Moon
  12. Mop Mop
  13. Jack Armstrong Blues*
  14. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (Closing Theme)*

* Previously Unreleased
**  Previously Unreleased Unedited Performances

Written by Joe Marchese

October 4, 2012 at 14:10

2 Responses

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  1. This is excellent. Everything is good about this but the $35 “exclusive” price. Numerous jazz 2 CD reissues by major labels list at no more than $15-$20, and then are typically heavily discounted downward. When 75% of this is commonly available, this is definitely just trying to squeeze fans.

    There are other models for recent special reissues by the major labels. Give the fans so much music at a great price they just cannot pass up.

    Companies wonder why the world of torrents has taken over.


    October 5, 2012 at 08:40

    • As a comparison, consider another special reissue series that The Second Disc has featured….vocalist Matt Monro. For the Matt Monro series, rare archive recordings have been located, tapes restored, and painstakingly remastered. Lengthy liner notes have been written, rare photos have been located, and 2CD and 4 CD sets have been issued. Major labels have released them. The list prices of these rare recording sets is phenomenally low, and they are often discounted to unbelievably low prices on the first day of issue. I cannot believe that you can buy a new 2 CD set of rare Monro for $6 and a 4CD new sealed set for as low as $8. Now I am not expecting such low prices all the time.

      But why does the Monro estate put all this effort into the music and offer it at such a low price? Because they want people to listen to it and enjoy the music. They are not trying to squeeze every dollar, and end up with hardly any sales at all.


      October 5, 2012 at 08:54

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