Friday, May 18, 2007

Louis Armstrong - At Pasadena Civic Auditorium (GRP, 1977)

Louis Armstrong and the usual suspects of the All-Stars are presented here performing live in a very sunny and happy performance with Pops joking and laughing before an appreciative California audience. Much of the music is standard fare with the band's regular setlist featuring New Orleans favorites such as "Kokomo" and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" and standards like Duke Ellington's "Predido" and "How High the Moon" played on the first couple of sides with much joy and spirit by the group. Side three of the two record set is the blues side with singer Velma Middleton joining the festivities on vocals and on an untitled blues and "That's My Desire" with Armstrong playing some fine trumpet and adding some snide comments. Side four sees the band wrapping things up with a reprise of "Sleepy Time Down South" and then moving into a wonderful take of the New Orleans classic "Didn't He Ramble" that ends the concert on a very fine and swinging note. Music by Armstrong's All-Stars always brings a smile to my face and this album is no different, as there was no finer ambassador of the music than Louis Armstrong.

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