Here are Louis Armstrong and his All Stars at two different locations in San Francisco 1954, doing what they loved and did best: playing Jazz of a quality defying description, and, as Louis would have said “pleasing the people”. These recordings happily capture Louis and his cohorts at the glorious height of their powers during two engagements (broadcast from the Downbeat and Hangover clubs) of the kind that often formed the All-Stars’ nightly round. Seldom, if ever, have Armstrong and his All-Stars been captured in more exultant form.
From the roars of applause that greet Louis Armstrong, every track on this album reveals the All-Stars at the zenith of their creative powers. From ‘Indiana’ presented with a flaring urgency, highlighted by an exultant trumpet solo outstanding even by Armstrong standards to ‘High Society’ which reveals the staggering form that Armstrong was in that night; listen, there is a carefree humour, which shows in a nutshell how to mix hilarity and jazz of monumental worth.
Such performances as this are seminal to Jazz. Like Louis Armstrong, music like this will never come again.