BY JOE MARVILLI
Fans of Louis Armstrong around the world now have the opportunity to own some rare recordings by the legendary jazz musician.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is making all 16 of his Ambassador Series discs available online for the first time. Previously, these recordings were only available to purchase at the museum itself. They are not available with any other retailer.
“We have such interesting projects you can only get at our brick-and-mortar store,” Jennifer Walden, the museum’s director of marketing, said. “The idea was to make that available worldwide.”
The discs can be purchased at the newly launched shop.louisarmstronghouse.org. Each entry in the series costs $14.95 and features rare broadcasts and live performances from throughout Armstrong’s career, an addition that many music collectors would love to have.
“Volume 1” has recordings from 1935, including “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Shoe Shine Boy” and “Solitude.” “Volume 2,” covering 1936, includes rare broadcasts of “Swing That Music” and “The Skeleton in the Closet.” “Volume 3,” running between 1936 and 1937, opens with Armstrong’s Hawaiian sessions and includes his first work with the Mills Brothers.
Included in “Volume 4” are four spiritual numbers by Armstrong, with the backing of Lyn Murray’s Choir. The highlight of “Volume 5,” 1938 to 1939, is a jam session featuring Fats Waller, Jack Teagarden and Bud Freeman. “Volume 6,” running from 1939 to 1940, sees Armstrong playing up-to-date arrangements of past classics, like a performance of “What Is This Thing Called Swing” from Carnegie Hall.
“Volume 7” is from 1940 to 1941 and includes collaborations with the Mills Brothers and New Orleans reed master Sidney Bechet. “Volume 8,” 1941 to 1942, is chockfull of performances with Armstrong’s Hot Seven band. “Volume 9” stretches from 1944 to 1949, as Armstrong’s recordings slowed down. It has appearances by Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
One of the CDs contains performances from the Cotton Club between 1939 and 1943. Another disc features Armstrong’s work in Philadelphia in 1948. There is also his Carnegie Hall Concert from 1947.
“Heavenly Music 1949-1957” is a compilation of some of Armstrong’s most beautiful performances, with many arrangements by Gordon Jenkins. “Because of You 1950-1953” is a collection of Armstrong’s most-loved pop singles and duets with Bing Crosby, Louis Jordan and Fitzgerald. “Moments to Remember 1952-1956” gathers together Armstrong’s rare recordings of the 1950s, including his 1953 collaboration with The Commanders.
“When You and I Were Young, Maggie” takes some great material from the early editions of the All Stars with Teagarden, Earl Hines and either Sid Catlett or Cozy Cole.
These recordings are only available as discs and cannot be bought in a digital format. In addition to the Ambassador series, everything in the museum’s brick-and-mortar store can be bought online as well.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th St., Corona.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.