Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the key turning points of Louis Armstrong's career occurred at the Town Hall concert fully documented on this two-CD set, a reissue of the earlier two-LP release. Armstrong, who had been leading a big band for 18 years, was showcased with some musical friends who were all very complementary players (including trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko and cornetist Bobby Hackett), and the results were so exciting that Armstrong soon broke up his orchestra to form a similar all-star sextet.
Louis Smith had a brilliant debut on this Blue Note album, his first of two before becoming a full-time teacher. The opener (Duke Pearson's "Tribute to Brownie") was a perfect piece for Smith to interpret, since his style was heavily influenced by Clifford Brown (who had died the previous year). He is also in excellent form on four of his basic originals and takes a particularly memorable solo on a haunting rendition of "Stardust." Altoist Cannonball Adderley (who used the pseudonym of "Buckshot La Funke" on this set, a name later used by Branford Marsalis), Duke Jordan or Tommy Flanagan on piano, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor make for a potent supporting cast, but the focus is mostly on the criminally obscure Louis Smith. After cutting his second Blue Note set and switching to teaching, Smith would not record again as a leader until 1978…
By no means a bad album, Walker's major-label debut just wasn't quite as terrific as what directly preceded it. The studio atmosphere seems a bit slicker than before, and the songs are in several cases considerably longer than they need to be (generally in the five- to seven-minute range). A reworking of Howlin' Wolf's "Shake for Me" is the only familiar entry.
In 2002, Ace released Big Joe Louis & His Blues Kings/The Stars in the Sky, which contained two albums – Big Joe Louis & His Blues Kings (1989, originally released on Blue Horizon) and The Stars in the Sky (1992, originally on Tramp) – by Big Joe Louis & His Blues Kings on one compact disc.
Former Ultravox leader John Foxx continues to explore his minimal, electronic pop on THE PLEASURES OF ELECTRICITY. Taking a cue from Kraftwerk, one of Foxx's most obvious stylistic touchstones, PLEASURES is a streamlined monorail of lock-step computer-generated beats and wiry synthesizer melodies with an equal emphasis on dark, atmospherics and energized, danceable rhythms.
To create a sense of the Venetian liturgical celebrations attendant on the birth of Louis XIV in 1638, Benjamin Chénier and the Galilei Consort have constructed a sumptuous performance from various works composed by Giovanni Gabrieli, Giovanni Rovetta, Giovanni Antonio Rigatti, Claudio Monteverdi, and Giovanni Bassano. Rovetta had been chosen by Louis XIII to assemble the singers and instrumentalists, and his Kyrie, Gloria, and Credo from the Messa e Salmi Concertati form the core of this historical simulation, which is completed by a Sanctus and Agnus Dei by Rigatti, and various instrumental pieces and motets.
Culled from fairly representative 1959 live recordings of two different versions of Satchmo's All Stars band, SINGIN' AND PLAYIN' suffers from poor sound quality. As always, however, Armstrong's joy and exuberance manage to shine through. The first three tracks are from the excellent Trummy Young/Billy Kyle version of the All Stars, arguably the band best matched to Armstrong's unique combination of serious jazz and comedic routines. Listeners interested in this lineup, however, would do well to also pick up the sublime MACK THE KNIFE or THE GREAT CHICAGO CONCERT 1956. The remaining seven tracks feature an altogether different All Stars which included vibraphonist Tyree Glenn and clarinetist Marty Napoleon.