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Volume V: Louis in New York

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Volume V: Louis in New York

Current Status:
In Season
Louis Armstrong

We gave it an A-

Nineteen years after his death, Armstrong remains the supreme embodiment of jazz aesthetics. Louis in New York is the fifth volume in Columbia’s comprehensive survey of his early years, and though lesser performances are included amid the masterpieces (including three gruesome vocals by Seeger Ellis), this portrait of Armstrong’s assault on the East Coast in 1929 is spellbinding. Here are his first major successes with pop material (notably ”Ain’t Misbehavin’,” which made him a star), his ingenious three-chorus solo on ”Mahogany Hall Stomp,” his epochal protest song ”Black and Blue,” and stunning dual versions — one with vocal, one without — of ”When You’re Smiling” and ”Some of These Days.” Collectors will be delighted by the discovery of two previously unknown (and faster) instrumental versions of ”After You’ve Gone.” The digital remastering favors the treble — turning up the bass helps — and a few tracks sound foggy, which compromises the overall rating. A-