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LukeG
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Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!

Hi Everyone, I'm a huge Louis fan but have trouble deciding what albums to purchase because there are just so many. I know some of them while being great in the music sense, aren't so great in the recording sense. Louis and The Good Book is a prime example of that, excellent music but not the greatest recording.

What are considered to be the best Louis Armstrong CD/SACD/XRCD discs in terms of sound quality and music?

Thanks a ton.

- Lukas
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jazzfan
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Re: Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!


Quote:
Hi Everyone, I'm a huge Louis fan but have trouble deciding what albums to purchase because there are just so many. I know some of them while being great in the music sense, aren't so great in the recording sense. Louis and The Good Book is a prime example of that, excellent music but not the greatest recording.

What are considered to be the best Louis Armstrong CD/SACD/XRCD discs in terms of sound quality and music?

Thanks a ton.

- Lukas
Audio Junkies

Hi Lukas and welcome to the forum.

Good question and I'll try to answer it as best as I can. While there may be tons of Armstrong recordings available there really aren't very many Armstrong discs that completely fit all your terms.

First there are all those early Armstrong recordings where Louie almost singlehandedly changed the course of jazz but of course all of these recordings offer little in the way of sound quality as opposed to their musical quality, which is of the absolutely highest caliber.

Then there are Louie's later recordings, which have much better sound quality but are often of much lower musical quality.

So, in effect, there are very few recordings that offer both good sound quality and outstanding musical quality. Of those few, a couple really stand out:

Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson

Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy

Satch Plays Fats: A Tribute To The Immortal Fats Waller

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington - The Great Summit: The Master Takes

There may be other Armstrong recordings which have good sound but these four are the bast that I know of. I consider to Louie Armstrong to be so great that he transcends the normally high standards for audio quality that I would like items in my music library to achieve. Early Armstrong, like the Hot Fives and Hot Sevens recordings, which many times leave much to be desired sound wise, contains such astonishingly prefect music that I don't mind the less than prefect sound.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!

This is all your fault! I pulled out a Time Life 3LP set, Giants Of Jazz Louis Armstrong. I'll be playing some of it today. You've got me actually looking at and playing some of the stuff that's been on the shelf undisturbed for 3 years. Three years ago I rearranged my listening room. With your help I can rediscover my collection, save my money and maybe get those Apogee Duetta II's I've been lusting after.

jazzfan
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Re: Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!


Quote:
This is all your fault! I pulled out a Time Life 3LP set, Giants Of Jazz Louis Armstrong. I'll be playing some of it today. You've got me actually looking at and playing some of the stuff that's been on the shelf undisturbed for 3 years. Three years ago I rearranged my listening room. With your help I can rediscover my collection, save my money and maybe get those Apogee Duetta II's I've been lusting after.

Excuse me, my "fault" - why you should be thanking me! What could be better in these miserable economic times then to be able to (re)discover lots of great music without having to spend any money? Besides that, as you say, you may even be able to buy some new audio equipment. Plus the vinyl release usually sounds as good, if not better, than the CD reissue. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

So have you looked at your Miles Davis vinyl collection lately? How about Coltrane, Ornette and Dexter Gordon? I bet you some gems hiding among those records that you haven't heard in a while. Put on "Miles Smiles" and you'll see and hear what I mean.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!

I really am thanking you. My vinyl is for the most part in such good condition that I don't even think about CD re-issues. If I don't own it already then the CD is usually my only alternative. A lot of music that I'm fond of just doesn't come up to "Audiophile" standards. Consequently it may never be issued on CD. Jazz at the Pawn Shop with a bunch of Swedish(?) amateurs playing with a lot of enthusiasm just doesn't work for me. It is a great recording though. I'd rather listen to Bennie Maupin, The Jewel In The Lotus (on the TT now). That's another LP I forgot I had.

linden518
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Re: Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!

Hi, Luke. To me, the Louis Armstrong Hot Five & Hot Sevens are so great that to me they're also some of the best pop recordings ever made, nevermind jazz. Just get the complete box set from Jsp records for $25 and be done with it. If you're going to get into Armstrong, there's no way around the Hot Five & Sevens.

lionelag
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Re: Louis Armstrong - Too Many Choices!

Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, in addition to being a huge chunk of the best music Louis (or anyone) ever recorded, is also really pretty-good sounding for digital 1920s 78 transfers. (Whatever the merits of 78s, and I actually agree with Art that they're a lot of fun and often stunningly musical, most transfers of them into Redbook suck. These don't. You do occasionally miss the lack of high end above 7khz, but crackle and pop are almost nonexistent, even on the rare sides.) I paid $40 or $50 for the box set when it came out 6 or 7 years ago and it was worth every penny. If you can get it for $25, jump.

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