Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jazz: The Intimate Art - Louis Armstrong on "The Bell Telephone Hour"

Time for something new! In the nearly seven years I've kept this blog afloat, I've always tried different things: spinning the iTunes shuffle, celebrating anniversaries, the "Listening to the Book" series, "Anatomy of an All Stars Concert," "revisited" posts and who knows what else. And now, it's time for the "Franz Hoffman Video of the Week" (month? day? still not sure how many I'll crank out but it'll be worth it).

In case you missed it, last week I praised German jazz researcher Franz Hoffman to no end for his generously uploading rare Armstrong treasure upon rare Armstrong treasure on his YouTube channel. These were all videos that have never been on YouTube before, real favorites of mine that I could never really blog about because there was nothing to share. But now, since so many are up, I'd like to write blow-by-blow blogs on some of them, with all the relevant backstory and such.

This week, I'm starting with an episdode of NBC's long-running Bell Telephone Hour titled "Jazz: The Intimate Art" and providing a wonderfully intimate look at Louis onstage, offstage and in the recording studio. It originally aired on April 26, 1968 but was filmed in February of that year.

This was Louis's third time on The Bell Telephone Hour. The first two appearances are also highlights of Louis's television years: in 1960, he appeared solo, backed by a large orchestra and gospel quartet to do a four-song medley featuring a chilling "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." In 1965, he returned with the All Stars in tow to do anything medley of five favorites, plus a version of "Hello, Dolly!" with the entire cast.

The 1968 episode was a different affair. This episode was a documentary following four major, but different figures of jazz: Louis, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck and Charles Lloyd. I have only seen the Louis segments (and that's all Franz has uploaded) so I can't vouch for the whole special but I'd imagine the other segments are worthwhile, too.

So where was Louis in February 1968, when this was filmed? To backtrack a little and rehash some stuff I covered in my "Anatomy of an All Stars Concert" series. In mid-1965, Louis had major dental surgery after a grueling tour of the Iron Curtain. When he went back to performing in the summer, his chops weren't 100% and he was tired. A bit of depression and weariness crept into his interviews as he fretted about being a "prisoner of this grind I'm in." He was booked solid from the summer of 1965 until the beginning of 1966.

But Joe Glaser listened (a bit). In 1966, there were no overseas tours, more days off than normal, plus a four-month summer engagement at Jones Beach in New York that meant Louis could live for a long stretch at his Corona, Queens home.

But in 1967, Louis continued to break down further. Two bouts with pneumonia caused him to miss long stretches of gigs from May-June and September into October. His trumpet playing grew erratic; he still had great nights but on many nights, he had to sing much more than play. A European tour in the summer of 1967 was particularly grueling.

By the end of 1967, though, Louis had stabilized a bit. He was playing well; he was feeling better after dropping some weight; he was recording frequently for Brunswick; Glaser continued peppering in the days off. Still, more than anything, he was tired. By September 1968, the weight loss and touring caught up with Pops and put him in intensive care--twice--keeping him off stage for nearly two years.

The Bell Telephone Hour catches Louis in the middle of this, still putting on a wonderful show onstage but unable to hide his tiredness in the interview segments. He had just done two days in San Remo, Italy and then had a few days off in New York before going back on the road to play at the Webster-Hall Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 9. This is where the Bell Telephone Hour filmed the performance clips. In them, you'll see Louis in great form backed by Tyree Glenn on trombone, Joe Muranyi on clarinet, Marty Napoleon on piano, Buddy Catlett on bass, Danny Barcelona on drums and Jewel Brown on second vocals on "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Nine days later, Louis and the All Stars had a rehearsal at Decca's 57th Street studios in New York City for a Kapp recording session that was to take place the next days. The Bell Telephone Hour didn't film the recording session but they did film the rehearsal, which, as you'll see, proved to be more interesting.

Probably sometime in between, the show caught up with Louis at his Corona, Queens home and filmed an interview with him in his den (it's possible they did this the next day, the day of the session, because at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, we have Jack Bradley photos of Louis wearing the same shirt at a 1968 recording session).

So that's the backstory. Sit back and enjoy the next 16 minutes and then I'll be back with some comments:

Wasn't that wonderful? Where to begin? I love Louis in the beginning, looking beat, but proud that you could identify his tone in five notes (he wasn't kidding!).

The All Stars footage is very strong; Joe Muranyi for one used to tell me how proud he was of it. Louis slowed down "The Saints" in the early 60s but in 1967, he picked it back up again. The band is romping and Louis sounds very strong on those two opening choruses. The "Hello, Dolly" excerpt at 7:03 is even better, especially Louis's lead playing in the ensemble.

But the juxtoposition between Louis onstage and off is striking. Anyone who has ever read Gary Giddins' Satchmo remembers the story of Louis appearing at Grinnel College, looking old and ashen backstage....and then Giddins watched him walk through the curtain and everything transformed; even his skin color brightened. Well, that Grinnel gig was October 28, 1967, about three months before this special so you can really see it here when "Dolly" fades into Louis at home, serious-faced, his head resting in his hand.

There's something about the serious Armstrong that always spooks those not accostumed to it. When the smile breaks out, it's like the sun shining again (esepcially when he demonstrates the kind of breaks he played with King Oliver), but those serious moments are very valuable. For decades, Louis spoke of King Oliver in nothing but reverent tones, focusing on Oliver being the King of New Orleans, his mentoring of Little Louis, the good times they had in Chicago, etc. But starting in 1965, as Louis began to fade, he began talking more about Oliver's downfall. First, he told Richard Meryman the story of his last run-in with a destitute Oliver, selling vegetables on the side of the road and sweeping up pool halls. Here, he's even more blunt, lamenting that Oliver died "a very pathetic man." Louis might have been tired and breaking down but he still had confidence in his music and was proud of his ability to still blow the horn and "stay before the public" with his hit records and sellout concerts at an age 15 years older than Oliver was when he died.

One of the ways Armstrong did this was with his records. After "Dolly," Armstrong went on recording "Dolly"-esque numbers in "Dolly"-type settings for the next four years. He hadn't recorded for Kapp since the original Hello, Dolly! album so his return there in February 1968 was probably met with the hope of capturing another hit record for the label. Unfortunately, the final session would drown in a sea of "Dolly-ness": banjo strumming away too loudly in the mix, Louis mentioning his name (pronounced "Lew-is") at least three times, etc. Also, Dick Jacobs was on hand, fresh from the Brunswick dates of late 1967. Jacobs's ultra-square commercial style--based on a small choir of voices and the leaden thump of an electric bass--was not right for Louis. Armstrong always did his best and occasionally hit a home run (like "I Will Wait for You," which I covered last week) but most of Armstrong's collaborations with Jacobs are sorry affairs.

But when he showed up to the rehearsal, he had "Rose" waiting for him and in one of the most striking segments of the Bell Telephone Hour special, Louis shows his displeasure with the song (Jacobs is the man with the glasses, holding the arrangement). For years, Armstrong critics had crucified record labels for forcing insipid material on the trumpeter, even when Louis always defended those choices, talking about how he could see the "story of a tune" such as "Blueberry Hill" or "Mack the Knife." The "Rose" sequence makes it clear that Louis called the shots. If he really didn't like a tune, he didn't hide those feelings. Apparently, he didn't care for "Hello, Dolly" but that was a favor for Joe Glaser so he did his best. But otherwise, if he didn't like it, he wasn't going to record it. (Also note that on the final session, Louis played no trumpet; but he has it at the rehearsal and--always a great sight readers--uses it as his way to learn the music.)

Fortunately, George Weiss--who wrote "What a Wonderful World"--was on hand with "Kinda Love Song" and after a quick run-through, Louis dubs it a better song. Unfortunately, there's no music! You can hear George Weiss offer to write an arrangement that evening. Weiss takes over the piano, plays the changes that only exist in his head, Louis sings and the All Stars feel their way. It's a great sequence, especially as everything comes together and Louis--with those horn-rimmed spectacles--really starts emoting with his vocal. "Kinda Love Song" is actually a very fine record; Weiss outfitted the final version with some special lyrics that made it a very autobiographical tune and a pretty touching record for this stage of Louis's career (alas, the flip side, "The Life of a Party" is a dud, though Louis does his best, as usual).

Dizzy's got the final word: "Without Louie Armstrong, I don't think there'd be any of us." I belive that this quote later got corrupted to the more oft-quoted, "No him, no me," which I've never seen directly attributed to Dizzy in any primary sources. Semantics aside, I couldn't agree more and in these 16+ minutes, the Bell Telephone Hour did a heroic job in illustrating how hard Louis was still working to entertain his fans, 55 years after getting sent to the Colored Waif's Home. We still appreciate that hard work to this day.

Thanks again to Franz Hoffman....more of these to hopefully folllow!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Will Wait For You Revisited

Recorded March 26, 1968
Track time 3:17
Written by Michael Legrand (English Lyrics by Norman Gimbel)
Recorded in New York City
Louis Armstrong, trumpet, vocal; Jimmy Nottingham, trumpet; Tyree Glenn, trombone, Joe Muranyi, clarinet; Marty Napoleon, piano; Everett Barksdale, guitar; Art Ryerson, banjo; Buddy Catlett, bass; Danny Barcelona, drums; with unknown mixed choir, Dick Jacobs, conductor
Originally Released on the Brunswick LP "I Will Wait For You" (Brunswick BL 754136)
Currently on CD: "The Best of Louis Armstrong," a foreign cheapie from German that's almost impossible to find but it IS on Itunes.
Available on Itunes? Yes, on "The Best of Louis Armstrong Volume 1" (Details later)

Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of "I Will Wait for You," one of my all-time favorite Armstrong records. I missed the anniversary date but it's worth celebrating any day of the year. Here's an old post I wrote about it...Enjoy!

************
Hooray for the Itunes shuffle for picking this gem! After "Hello, Dolly," Armstrong and the All Stars continued touring at a frentic pace, with Armstrong and the guys in the band putting on a helluva show night after night. Unfortunately, record companies didn't know what to do with Armstrong after the success of "Dolly" so they began making soundalike records, right down to plugging a banjo into the All Stars. Armstrong's Mercury recordings are a mixed bag and his forgotten Brunswick 45s range from the ridiculous (a cover of the Lovin' Spoonfull's "Daydream") to the sublime (a rare, latter-day original co-composed with Marty Napoleon, "Louie's Dream"). In August 1967, Armstrong recorded Bob Theile's "What a Wonderful World" and though it wasn't much of a hit at the time (at least in the U.S.), at least it presented an alternative to the "Dolly" sound (though Armstrong had sung ballads over orchestras with strings and a choir years earlier...Gordon Jenkins, anyone?).

In October 1967, Brunswick hired arranger Dick Jacobs to arrange an album of movie songs for Armstrong to record. Armstrong's health declined in early 1967 and his trumpet playing, though still there, was becoming less and less a part of the show. On the entire Jacobs-arranged album, Armstrong plays a total of 40 bars of trumpet. His voice is in fine form but he's constantly tripped up by poor material and hideous arrangements such as "The Happy Time," perhaps the worst record of Armstrong's career mainly due to the disgustingly sweet choir that makes the listener want to blow up his or her listening device within the first six seconds. Jacobs had no feel for this music and by augmenting the All Stars with a banjo, guitar AND Everett Barksdale's weirdly popping electric bass guitar, he managed to overcrowd the rhythm section to the point where all they could do was plod and bounce in an incessant two-beat. When I asked Joe Muranyi about Jacobs, he summed him up in one word: "Schmuck."

The bulk of the Brunswick album was recorded in late 1967 but needed three more tracks to complete it, Armstrong reentered the studio on March 26, 1968. 1968 was the last great year Armstrong, at least until September when he fell ill and had to shut it down for 1969. Waiting for him was Michael Legrand's "I Will Wait For You," taken from the acclaimed 1964 French musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Armstrong's performance is an example of good triumphing over evil. Try as he might to cover up Armstrong's genius with a cloying choir, annoying electric bass and a soul-destroying two-beat, Jacobs can't keep Armstrong down on "I Will Wait For You," undeniably a highlight of Armstrong’s twilight period. Here's the audio:


The stirring opening trumpet cadenza over minor chords is a throwback to his younger days. The opening phrase is one of his favorites, lifted verbatim from the way he used to close Arvell Shaw's bass feature with the All Stars, "Russian Lullaby" (it's also faintly alluded to in his break on Jewel Brown's feature "Jerry" in the 1962 Goodyear film). The descending run that follows is very characteristic and the whole thing is played with that kind of free-floating rhythm that had been his hallmark since his youth. The vocal is a gas, if you permit me to fall into 1957 lingo for a minute. He sounds like he's having a ball, even giving the choir an enthusiastic, "Yeah!" when they enter and shit all over the bridge. But after a modulation, Armstrong reenters with some of the most joyous, infectious singing of career and yes, I know that is saying a LOT. Here's the way he sings the first two lines after the bridge:

If it takes forever, MAMA, I will wait for you..hehehe, YEAH
For a thousand summers, BABY, I will wait for you...ohhhhhhh yeah

At the end, he creates a vocal cadenza to match the opening trumpet statement, repeating the word "sharing" four times and when he comes to the final words, "your love," he substitues a slightly different two-word phrase: "hot mama!" I don't have my copy of Satchmo nearby but I know Gary Giddins pointed out that it's the only version of "I Will Wait For You" where you know what the singer has in mind when the girl he's waiting for finally returns! And for good measure, Armstrong scats one of his favorite minor-key phrase to close the record, the same one he ends his duet with Ella on "Summertime."

Listening to the vocal, replete with added “babe’s” and “mama’s” is further proof that his singing remained unchanged since the 1920s and in fact, was actually better in his later period. And again, the opening trumpet cadenza harkens back to his youth. A big part of my research is my steadfast determination to destroy the popular idea that there were two Armstrongs: the young artist and the later entertainer (1929 onward). Now is not the time to go into details (I left my soapbox in the trunk of my car), but the truth is Armstrong always managed to combine art and entertainment (slight pause while some readers clutch their chest at the mere thought) as he always mugged onstage, winning rave reviews for it in Chicago newspaper reviews of the mid-20s. And for every "West End Blues," there's a "Big Fat Ma and Skinny Pa." And even when Okeh started giving him pop songs in the 20s and when Decca started giving him film songs in the 30s, it was no different than hiring him to dress up "I Will Wait For You" and "Talk To The Animals" in 1968. I urge you to spend the three minutes and listen to the above link of "I Will Wait For You." Try to get past the choir, the rhythmic clunk and the lame arrangement and listen to Armstrong himself. Listen to the trumpet, listen to the vocal and try to tell me that's not the same soul as the 1928 edition. Sure, his chops weren't what they used to be but it's the same musical spirit that pervaded his entire career. There was only one Louis Armstrong and thank God for that.

(Note on the Itunes source: you can find "I Will Wait For You" on Itunes on an album simply titled "The Best of Louis Armstrong Vol. 1." It's a reissue of a three-disc German release that I paid heavy money for a while back and can't be found on CD in America. All three volumes are available on Itunes and can be spotted by the vertical orange title on the left side and a black-and-white photo of Armstrong on the right. Here's the really weird part: all the tracks on the album are credited to Arthur Johnston (?) but they're all Armstrong, trust me! Volumes 1 and 2 contain Armstrong's entire Mercury output and the complete I Will Wait For You Brunswick LP. And though it's not marked that way, Volume 3 has the ultra-rare alternate take of "Wrap Your Trouble In Dreams" from 1931. Enjoy!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

God Bless Franz Hoffman, YouTube and Louis Armstrong!

Everybody knows Louis Armstrong and everybody uses YouTube. Not everybody knows Franz Hoffman, but hopefully after reading this, you'll know him and appreciate him like I and so many other jazz lovers do.

I first heard of Franz when I was a student at Rutgers, getting a Master's in Jazz History and Researcher. My mentor, Lewis Porter, wold tell the class about Hoffman's Jazz Advertised series of books, which were available a short walk away at the Institute of Jazz Studies. Hoffman spent goodness knows how many decades copying every jazz advertisement he could find in newspaper archives (especially black newspapers), compiling them into several, large volumes. At the same time, he was a tireless chronicler of the great New Orleans trumpeter, Henry "Red" Allen, plus his frequent partner, trombonist J. C. Higginbotham. I used to marvel at those big books and did incorporate them into my research. But after I graduated in 2005 and continued my path of Armstrong obsession, I forgot about them, barely finding time to get to the IJS to use them.

In October 2009, I was hired as Project Archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum. One month later, I received my first phone call direct from Germany from Franz! It was like talking to a hero but Franz didn't have time for flattery; he wanted me to listen to the complete 1937 Fleischmann's Yeast Broadcasts that Louis hosted and wanted to know if Red Allen or Higgy played any solos or obligatos on the non-Armstrong material. I was happy to help. In the ensuing four years, Franz calls every few months, asking for help, updating me on his projects or sharing something wonderful, such as a chapter of his Red Allen "Day by Day" document that covered Allen's 1937-1940 tenure with Armstrong in incredible detail. I always looked forward to hearing from Franz and enjoyed knowing him as a friend. A few months ago, he even sent me this lovely recent photo of him and his wife:

If that was the end of the story, Franz Hoffman would have done enough to be thanked by jazz researchers for generations to come. But no, in his mind, he hadn't done enough yet. You see, Franz, like so many of the beautiful people I've met in this wonderful world of jazz research, is a sharer. After years of amassing an incredible collection, he decided to go public with it.

First came the books, with every page uploaded to the fabulous RainerJazz website. Free of charge. Seriously, you have some free time on your hands? Go here to search through his Black Newspaper research. Want to see that Red Allen bio-discography? Here it is; chapter 5 is the one on his years with Louis.

Uploading everything onto RainerJazz would haver really solidified Franz's place in the pantheon of jazz researchers. No more trips to the Institute of Jazz Studies were necessary; now researchers from around the world can use Franz's lifetime of work anytime they please. Incredible. But he wasn't done.

On January 15, 2012, I remember being on Facebook (a frequent occurrence) and seeing some jaw-dropping things pop up on other friends' pages: Red Allen playing Body and Soul live; J. C. Higginbotham with Colemand Hawkins and Joe Thomas doing J. C. Jumps in 1957; and a Blues from Carnegie Hall in 1941 with Red Allen, Buck Clayton, Charlie Shavers, Bunny Berigan, Harry Levine and Max Kaminsky--and those are the trumpets! (The rest of the personnel is too stunning to even type.)

Yes, Franz Hoffman had started a YouTube channel under the name Hoffmanjazz and he was using it to share the most sensational treasures from his collection, audio and video. At first, it was everything you could ever dream of with Red Allen and/or J. C. Higginbotham; stuff from records, from the radio, from concerts, just remarkable things I never thought I'd here. But he kept on going: Jabbo Smith, Lionel Hampton, Willie the Lion Smith, Eubie Blake, Illinois Jacquet, Ben Webster, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Sidney Bechet, Roy Eldridge, Art Ford Jazz Party's, New Orleans legends....I could keep going but I have to get to bed at some point.

I haven't mentioned Franz on this blog up to this point because as essential as his generous offerings are, he really hasn't shared much directly related to Louis; he didn't need my help because as of this writing, he has 467 subscribers and his videos have received over 308,000 views. Thrilling that there's such an audience for these great gifts.

But I knew Franz had an incredible collection of Louis Armstrong videos; he'd shared his list of them with me before and I salivated. And sure enough, one month ago, they started trickling onto YouTube: Louis doing Jubilee in "Every Day's a Holiday"; Louis's musical sequences in Going PlacesAin't Misbehavin' from the 1944 film "Atlantic City."

After dipping his toes in the water with those, Franz dove in fully during this last week. In the last seven days, he has uploaded so many of my favorite, rare Armstrong clips that my head is still spinning just thinking of it. I should mention that in my personal collection, I have everything he's uploaded except for two short clips. For the past five years, one of my side projects has been going around to places like the Jazz Museum in Harlem and the Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans, giving film presentations on Armstrong, showcasing rare clips from my private stash. And one of my token lines is that the stuff I show is so rare, you can't find it on YouTube.

Well, that's not the case anymore. And instead of being sad, feeling like it's putting me out of business (which it won't; I think there'll always be an audience who wants to watch Pops with a crowd on a big screen, filled in on the backstory by an enthusiastic nut like me), I couldn't be happier. I'm a sharer; Franz is a sharer. Instead of hoarding this stuff for ourselves, Franz has made it possible for Armstrong fans around the world to see things that very few people have seen.

I'm probably going to do a bunch of new blogs on some of the videos Franz has uploaded. But a few have jumped out and I have to share them now. First, Louis's marvelous appearance on Frank Sinatra's 1952 television show, with a "Confessin'" that is as good as it gets:


11 1/2 minutes from "The Colgate Comedy Hour," live from New Orleans in February 1955, with Louis, Trummy Young, Barney Bigard, Billy Kyle, Arvell Shaw and Barrett Deems in peak form:


One of the clips I don't have--and didn't even know existed--an excerpt of the All Stars doing "C'est Si Bon," most likely in Paris in 1960. I've read that Louis's Paris concerts on December 24 and 31 of 1960 were shown on French television but I've never known any of them to survive. Well, this is only 90 seconds but maybe it'll be enough for someone to check the vaults and discover the complete concerts!


THIS is wonderful: Louis and the All Stars on "The Ed Sullivan Show," live from Germany in 1961. Louis is on fire, turning in one of his finest "Royal Garden Blues" solos (Dan Morgenstern flipped for it at Satchmo Summerfest last year). And Louis even blows "The Saints" out over the credits, something he had stopped doing in late 1959:


And of course, more important than anything else, "The Satchmo Story" from 1962. I've written about this telecast many, many times, but have never had anything to show for it because the only clips on YouTube disabled embedding. Not anymore! This was done in a studio in Munich and is something of a filmed version of "Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography." With little time to prep and a lack of an audience, Louis is a little more subdued than normal but the music is still dynamite, especially rarities like "Dippermouth Blues," "Canal Street Blues," "You Rascal You," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and more. It was originally broadcast in two parts in 1962; in the 1990s, German television edited together about an hour of it, which is what Franz has shared. But there's more out there and hopefully, with some demand, we can get someone, somewhere to release it (it would be an ideal "Jazz Icons" DVD). I won't share all the parts now, but here's part 1 to get you started:


There's more--the musical sequences from "The Strip," Louis on "The Perry Como Show," Louis's European film appearances from 1959--and Franz has written in to say there's more to come. Wow! So on behalf of Louis Armstrong lovers around the world, THANK YOU to Franz Hoffman for dedicating your life to assembling this material and even bigger thanks for sharing it with the world. (And needless to say, YouTube can be a funny place; I've seen friends upload stuff for years and then one thing triggers a bad copyright reaction and everything gets pulled. Enjoy it all NOW and save if you can; precious, precious stuff!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Anatomy of an All Stars Concert - 1964-1971

When we last left our hero in part four of this series, it was 1963 and though he was still putting on great shows, the repertoire was dwindling. His chops were still up but a lot of classics from the 1950s were gone by 1963. Of course, just when he starting to fall into a bit of a pattern, along came "Hello, Dolly!" Now, Louis was bigger than ever so any thoughts of slowing down went right out the window.

The first complete set list from the "Dolly" era comes from May 4, 1964, a concert I've never heard (and frankly, I'm not sure it exists since I've never met another collector with a copy) but the sets look authentic and have been published in multiple discographies. By this point, Russell "Big Chief" Moore replaced Trummy Young on trombone, Joe Darensbourg was still on clarinet, Billy Kyle was still on piano, Arvell Shaw was back on bass, Danny Barcelona was still on drums and Jewel Brown was still handling the vocals. Here goes:

May 4, 1964 - Houston, Texas
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
Hello, Dolly!
Yellow Dog Blues (Joe Darensbourg feature)
Lover Come Back to Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
Back O'Town Blues
A Lot of Livin' to Do
Royal Garden Blues
Blueberry Hill
Ugly Chile (Russell "Big Chief" Moore feature)
How High the Moon (Arvell Shaw feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
All of Me (Jewel Brown feature)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Jewel Brown feature)
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

As you can see, old habits die hard: the first eight songs of the first set are identical to so many of those 1962 shows. And the rundown of the sidemen features are pretty much the same. But of course, "Hello, Doll!y" is in there after the piano feature in the first set. And at the start of the second set, we now see the flip side, "A Lot of Livin' to Do," along with three challenging horn showpieces, "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "Back O'Town Blues" and "Royal Garden Blues." No real surprises, but enough trumpet specialities to keep the hardened jazz fan in the audience satisfied.

But this show represents the end of an era: after eight years, the two songs from High Society were retired shortly after the "Dolly" explosion. Louis LOVED his songs from movies and usually kept them around for years, such as his playing "A Song is Born" regularly until 1951, four years after that film was released. Everyone loved High Society and Louis got a lot of mileage out of those two numbers, but after "Dolly," they'd be no more.

Later in 1964, Louis recorded "So Long Dearie" for Mercury, which also cracked the charts and made it into a few live shows, including one from Australia in December. The next complete set list we encounter is from another "lost" show featuring nearly the same band (Eddie Shu now on clarinet), this one from February 13, 1965:


February 13, 1965 - Miami, Florida
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
It's Easy to Remember (Billy Kyle feature)
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
Hello, Dolly!
Memories of You (Eddie Shu feature)
La Vie En Rose
Lover Come Back to Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
Ole Miss
Back O'Town Blues
The Faithful Hussar
Blueberry Hill
Ugly Chile (Russell "Big Chief" Moore feature)
How High the Moon (Arvell Shaw feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
All of Me (Jewel Brown feature)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Jewel Brown feature)
My Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Jeepers Creepers
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

Hello, Dolly (closing)

Now, instead of opening with eight numbers (which normally ate up over 30 minutes with himself in the spotlight), Louis only opened with five, totaling about 22 minutes. Then, after Billy Kyle's solo (or in this case, solos), "Dolly" would commence, earlier in the show without those High Society numbers. Louis also came back after Eddie Shu's solo with the last known version of "La Vie En Rose"--wish I could hear it! "Ole Miss" has now moved to the second set and instead of "A Lot of Livin' to Do,' we get "The Faithful Hussar." And then a real surprise: the last known All Stars performance of "Jeepers Creepers." It's possible that was a staple in this period since it was featured on the album Hello, Dolly! Also notice the show now ends with a reprise of "Dolly" after "Sleepy Time."  

One month later, the All Stars--now with Tyree Glenn on trombone--went on their historic tour of the Iron Curtain. Full sets survive from Prague and East Berlin that are pretty similar and illustrate the kind of show Louis was bringing with him. Here's East Berlin (and by the way, you can watch an hour of this incredible concert here....what are you waiting for?):


March 22, 1965 - East Berlin, Germany
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
Black and Blue
Tiger Rag
When I Grow Too Old to Dream (Billy Kyle feature)
Hello, Dolly!
Memories of You (Eddie Shu feature)
Lover Come Back to Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
The Faithful Hussar
Royal Garden Blues
Blueberry Hill
Without a Song (Tyree Glenn feature)
How High the Moon (Arvell Shaw feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Jewel Brown feature)
My Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

Hello, Dolly (closing)

That's one hour and 40 minutes of music so with intermission, Louis was giving two hour shows now (many full shows from the 50s were nearly three hours with intermission). Louis is down to opening with only four numbers, but throughout the entire tour, "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" was replaced with "Black and Blue," a number we haven't seen with any regularity since the mid-50s. (There's probably a reason for this as I argue in my book.) The third set opens with three incredible horn features with "Barbecue," "Hussar" and "Royal Garden Blues" but by the end of the night, Louis sounds a little out of gas. Still, what he does play in this concert is 100% prime.

Alas, it wasn't to be. Immediately after the tour, Louis took six weeks off for major dental work. When he came back, opening with another European tour, he was feeling high and happy in London as BBC caught him playing "Barbecue," "Bucket," "Royal Garden," "Black and Blue," "Back O'Town Blues" and "Muskrat Ramble" (haven't seen that one since 1961). But just days later, Louis played a historic concert in front of a huge crowd in Budapest. Though commercially unissued, I've heard it and can attest that Louis struggles. He doesn't sound bad, but he's not as on target as he was in Berlin. With Buddy Catlett on bass, this is the Budapest show:


June 9, 1965 - Budapest, Hungary
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
Black and Blue
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
When I Grow Too Old to Dream (Billy Kyle feature)
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
Hello, Dolly!
On the Alamo (Eddie Shu feature)
Ole Miss
Lover Come Back to Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
Basin Street Blues
Royal Garden Blues
Blueberry Hill
Volare (Tyree Glenn feature)
Blues in the Closet (Buddy Catlett feature)
Mack the Knife

Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
All of Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Georgia On My Mind (Jewel Brown feature)
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

Like the Iron Curtain tours, "Black and Blue" remained in place in favor of "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" but otherwise, everything is status quo. One difference is we get "Ole Miss" later in the first set, which sounds like it surprised the band as they had just started playing Jewel Brown's entrance music. And in the second set, it's nice to see "Basin Street Blues," which was no longer a nightly staple as it was throughout the 50s.

Less than a month later, someone recorded about 90 minutes of a show in Vallejo, California, now with Buster Bailey on clarinet. By this point, Armstrong was coming to grips that his chops were not responding like he wished they were. It was during this month that reviewers started noticing how tired he looked on stage and in interviews with Patrick Scott and Richard Meryman, Louis sometimes bitterly hinted at how he wanted to retire and unhappy he was as a "prisoner of this grind."

I don't need to share the entire set but can tell you that Vallejo began the same was as the others: "Sleepy Time," "Indiana," "Black and Blue," "Bucket" and "Tiger Rag." But then Kyle did two features before "Dolly," followed by Bailey doing two features of his own. And then something completely different: Tyree Glenn began taking his vibes with him and he'd two two numbers on vibes before Jewel Brown. So in a 16-song first set, Louis was front and center for only seven. Then in the second set, where we've seen him open with three or four trumpet home runs, he only did "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and an old favorite we haven't seen since 1962, "Tin Roof Blues" (no solo). Clearly, he was pacing himself more than ever though what he does play is excellent ("Barbecue" especially has a strong, and different than usual, solo).

This pattern continued almost exactly to a tee in the next full set we have from Houston on October 24, 1965, though "Ole Miss" came back on that night. Interestingly, shortly after, Louis attempted "Ole Miss" for the soundtrack to A Man Called Adam. Though it didn't make the finished album, it did contain a rare trumpet solo. Louis always played furiously on that number but stopped taking a solo on it in the mid-50s. From 1965 until 1971, when the chops were up, he'd take a solo, sometimes one chorus, and if they were really up, two. 

Also, in the summer of 1965, Louis recorded an episode of the ABC television show Shindig that featured him doing "A Lot of Livin' to Do." He appeared on The Dean Martin Show soon after and did "Someday You'll Be Sorry" and "So Long Dearie" with the All Stars. So it's probable that they all stayed in the repertoire through 1965, but perhaps not with any regularity.

And then comes 1966, another lost year. There's a few reasons for this. For one, there was no overseas touring and as we've proven time and again, it's the Europeans that really captured the All Stars over and over again over the years. Home for the year, American fans weren't into bootlegging Pops. Also, Louis spent four months at Jones Beach doing a show with Guy Lombardo, "Mardi Gras." He'd do a short set in the show and play for dancers after but none of these were ever recorded.

Up to a few years ago, 1966 was really a completely lost year but then our friend John McDonough showed up to save the day again. In my last entry, I mentioned how McDonough taped Louis at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois in 1960, capturing all sorts of odd, terrific song selections, like "West End Blues." On December 11, 1966, McDonough was present for an All Stars show at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago. If you remember what I said last time, McDonough had the habit of not recording sideman features or numbers he didn't like, sometimes turning the tape off in the middle of a solo or feature. So we only have 47 minutes of the concert to pick apart but there's some interesting stuff here. Personnel had changed yet again with Marty Napoleon now on piano, replacing the deceased Billy Kyle in February of that year. 

December 11, 1966 - Chicago, Illinois
FIRST SET (INCOMPLETE)
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
St. James Infirmary
Tiger Rag
Please Don't Talk About My When I'm Gone (Marty Napoleon feature)
Memphis Blues (Buster Bailey feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
SECOND SET (INCOMPLETE)
Ole Miss
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
The Faithful Hussar
Muskrat Ramble
Cheesecake
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

You'll notice two brand new numbers in the repertoire: "St. James Infirmary" used to be a feature first for Jack Teagarden and then Arvell Shaw but starting in 1966, Louis began using it to spotlight himself on vocals...and when he was feeling especially good, trumpet. Also, in 1966, he recorded a novelty for Mercury, "Cheesecake," and that made it into the show. The second set still opens with a string of Armstrong trumpet specialties: "Ole Miss," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," "The Faithful Hussar" and "Muskrat Ramble." However, this is when we notice that some changes were really being made: Louis does not solo on "Indiana" or "Muskrat Ramble" and he restructured the end of "Hussar" so he didn't go quite as high as he did in 1965.  God, how it must have hurt him, realizing that those incredible solos he worked so hard to perfect had now become too difficult to execute. Thus, even though he was still playing the horn, without taking some solos, he was playing less than ever (and on nights when he didn't solo on "St. James" or "Ole Miss," even less.

Louis did have a few recording sessions in 1966, one for Mercury that resulted in the semi-hit "Mame" and another for Columbia that resulted in a cover of "Cabaret." Both would make it into the act in 1967; "Cabaret" especially became a nightly favorite. 

There's nothing from the first part of 1967 to discuss; Buster Bailey died that spring and then Louis had to shut down the operation for six weeks because of pneumonia. While he was off, he called Tyree Glenn into the hospital to work on some new routines. Jewel Brown had been singing with the band since 1961 but never did any numbers with Louis. Realizing he was having to play less and less, Louis wanted to bring some of his old comedic specialities into the band. He taught Glenn the old routines on "That's My Desire" and "Rockin' Chair" and they became part of the act in the summer of 1967. For years, he also played a medley of "Tenderly" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." He knew his chops couldn't stand up to that demanding medley, but he loved those songs, so he took to playing a short bit of "Tenderly" and singing an emotional "You'll Never Walk Alone."

These changes are reflected in the set lists that survive from the summer of 1967. In fact, three sets from three straight days survive and they show some differences depending on the state of Louis's chops. I've written about Louis's sad July 25, 1967 Copenhagen show before, which was followed by two better days at the Antibes Jazz Festival in Juan-Les-Pins, France. From that festival, here's the July 27, 1967 set. The All Stars were now Louis, Tyree Glenn, Joe Muranyi on clarinet, Marty Napoleon, Buddy Catlett, Danny Barcelona and Jewel Brown:

July 27, 1967 - Juan-Les-Pins, France
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
Tiger Rag
The Girl from Ipanema (Marty Napoleon feature)
Hello, Dolly!
Pee Wee's Blues (Joe Muranyi feature)
Avalon (Tyree Glenn vibes feature)
Don't Take You Love from Me (Tyree Glenn vibes feature)
This Could Be the Start of Something Big (Jewel Brown feature)
Time After Time (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SET
Ole Miss
Cabaret
Muskrat Ramble
Blueberry Hill
Volare (Tyree Glenn feature)
That's My Desire (Louis and Tyree Glenn)
Blues in the Closet (Buddy Catlett feature)
Mack the Knife
What the World Needs Now (Jewel Brown feature)
What a Difference a Day Made (Jewel Brown feature)
Every Day I Have the Blues (Jewel Brown feature)
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
Medley: Tenderly and You'll Never Walk Alone
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

We're still down to just four opening songs and on one of them, "St. James Infirmary," Louis wasn't feeling up to playing a single note, just singing three choruses. But you do see "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," which Joe Muranyi told me was t the true sign that Louis's chops were up in 1967 and 1968. That was usually proof that it was going to be a good night of blowing and sure enough, Louis comes out for the second set with some demanding paying on "Ole Miss," "Cabaret" and "Muskrat Ramble." Only six years earlier, he could still knock out "West End Blues" when the spirit hit him but now he was satisfied to get through "Kiss." You'll also notice "That's My Desire" and the "Tenderly/You'll Never Walk Alone" medley making appearances in the second set.

This whole first comeback was too much too soon and by September, Louis was sick again. But when he went back to traveling in October, he was once again refreshed. Joe Muranyi wrote some breathless postcards to Jack Bradley (which can be read at the Louis Armstrong House Museum's Archives) in which he bragged about Pops's chops and how he even took a request for "When You're Smiling" one night and played the "high note ending" (I seriously doubt, he did the entire chorus a la 1929 or 1957 but even a half chorus, or the last eight bars, would have been thrilling). The very next night, the band landed in Miami and fortunate, someone had a tape recorder rolling. Here it is, the last surviving, full, two-set set list:


November 13, 1967 - Miami, Florida
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
What a Wonderful World
St. James Infirmary
Tiger Rag
The Song Is Ended (Buddy Catlett feature)
The Girl from Ipanema (Marty Napoleon feature)
Sunrise, Sunset  (Marty Napoleon feature)
Hello, Dolly!
Just a Closer Walk With Thee (Joe Muranyi feature)
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans (Joe Muranyi feature)
Avalon (Tyree Glenn vibes feature)
Misty (Tyree Glenn vibes feature)
This Could Be the Start of Something Big (Jewel Brown feature)
Time After Time (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SET
Ole Miss
Cabaret
The Faithful Hussar
Blueberry Hill
Volare (Tyree Glenn feature)
That's My Desire (Louis and Tyree Glenn)
What the World Needs Now (Jewel Brown feature)
What a Difference a Day Made (Jewel Brown feature)
Good Mornin' Blues (Jewel Brown feature)
Mop Mop
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
Medley: Tenderly and You'll Never Walk Alone

It's a lot of features but I can tell you that when Louis plays, he's in great shape, as I've proven on here before with this mind-blowing St. James Infirmary. In France in July, he didn't blow one note on that number, but here, he plays two choruses up front and two dramatic ones at the close, showing that when the chops were up, you couldn't stop him. He even takes a two chorus solo on "Ole Miss" (cleverly quoting "Moon Over Miami") and a brand new solo on "Cabaret," digging out his old favorite, Drdla's "Souvenir."

We also get his latest recording, "What a Wonderful World" in the first set. It kind of bombed in the United States because of a lack of promotion, but that didn't stop Louis from featuring it every night in the slot after "Indiana" (it eventually became a number one hit overseas). Louis and Tyree's routine on "That's My Desire" is now part of the show and the new closer is the medley of "Tenderly" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." And it's nice to see (and hear) "The Faithful Hussar" still hanging in there after its 1955 debut. Louis couldn't shoot out the lights on it as he did in 1965 but he managed to always tailor it to his strengths, taking the rideout down a few notes in Chicago in 1966 and coming up with new, also slightly less chop-busting riffs in 1967.

But like I said, even to do such great blowing so late in the game, Louis had to let everyone else double up on their features. Look at some of the 1950s sets in this series to see nights where Louis blew like a wild man on every number, even the features. By 1967, he picks his spots, but always makes it count (including a half chorus of melody on Joe Muranyi's feature, "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," an old All Stars favorite from the early days; it always tickled Joe, hearing Louis come in on the bridge).

Unfortunately, that's the last complete, two-set set list we have to analyze. There's a short broadcast from Las Vegas in December 1967 but nothing during the first four months of 1968. On TV, however, Louis began playing "Willkommen," which he recorded for Brunswick in 1967, so that might have been added to the repertoire. In February, he began recording Disney Songs the Satchmo Way. He must have known "The Bare Necessities" was a winner because he featured it on the Academy Awards and on The Tonight Show in April before the album was even released.

There are a few single sets from 1968 that survive and it's interesting to see what Louis was doing when he had one set to work his magic. Here's one from New Orleans:

May 19, 1968 - New Orleans Jazz Fest
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
What a Wonderful World 
Tiger Rag
Girl From Ipanema (Marty Napoleon feature)
Hello, Dolly
Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Joe Muranyi feature)
Someday
It's All Right With Me (Tyree Glenn feature)
This Could Be The Start of Something Big (Jewel Brown feature)
Time After Time (Jewel Brown feature)
Blueberry Hill
When the Saints Go Marchin' In

Clearly, an hour was becoming tough to fill because Louis had so many damn hits by this point (also, not enough time to feature Danny Barcelona and Buddy Catlett). Naturally, there's "Dolly" (with a shoutout to Louis's sister "Mama Lucy" in the audience), and "What a Wonderful World" had just hit number 1 in England, plus "Blueberry Hill" and the "Saints"; no time for "Mack the Knife." But to show that the trumpet was still there, he plays well on "Indiana" (though the solo was gone for good), "Dolly" and the biggest surprise, "Someday You'll Be Sorry," which we haven't seen since the Hello, Dolly album of 1964. It was a favorite with some New Orleans Jazz Club members so perhaps Louis did it for them by request.

On the strength of "What a Wonderful World," Louis headed to England in June 1968. He did two weeks at the Batley Variety Club in Yorkshire, England. Someone taped one set and ti's similar to the above but Louis found time to feature Catlett and Barcelona, plus do "That's My Desire" with Tyree. This left Louis in the spotlight only for "Sleepy Time," "Indiana," "Wonderful World," "Tiger Rag," "Dolly," "Blueberry Hill" and the "Saints," which really wasn't a lot. But a shorter surviving bootleg from Batley has "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "Mack the Knife," both with great trumpet, so obviously he'd stretch himself a bit when feeling up to it. 

On July 2, 1968, Louis did two one hour television shows for the BBC. Instead of setting it up like a standard two-set show, each show kind of works like independent single-set shows, in terms of pacing and featuring everybody. Still, a good representation of what was in the book in the summer of 1968:

July 2, 1968 - London, England
FIRST SHOW
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
The Girl from Ipanema (Marty Napoleon feature)
Hello, Dolly
It's Alright With me (Tyree Glenn vibes feature)
Rockin' Chair (Louis and Tyree Glenn)
Time After Time (Jewel Brown feature)
That's Life (Jewel Brown feature)
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
Mame
What a Wonderful World
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
SECOND SHOW
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Ole Miss
Blueberry Hill
Sunrise, Sunset (Marty Napoleon feature)
Mack the Knife
Undecided (Joe Muranyi feature)
Mood Indigo (Tyree Glenn feature)
That's My Desire (Louis and Tyree Glenn)
You'll Never Walk Alone
There'll Be Some Changes Made (Jewel Brown feature)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco (Jewel Brown feature)
Mop Mop (Danny Bacelona feature)
Bare Necessities
What a Wonderful World
Hello, Dolly
Except for "Cabaret" and "Tiger Rag," I'd imagine that's everything Louis felt comfortable with by this point. His trumpet was in good form and he blows very well on "Indiana" and "Ole Miss," though no solo on either. "What a Wonderful World" is in both shows because it was the hit, but we also get "Dolly," "Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Blueberry," "Mack" and "The Saints," in addition to the less-often played "Mame" and the brand new "Bare Necessities." Louis and Tyree also dust off the old routine on "Rockin' Chair" in addition to "That's My Desire," while Louis managed to squeeze in a touching "You'll Never Walk Alone" without the "Tenderly" opening. Louis, in particular, loved these concerts. When he got the audio recordings, he dubbed them to his reel-to-reel tapes multiple times, labeling one tape "For the Fans." Sure enough, Louis's desire for his fans to hear these shows was made possible when Brunswick cobbled together Louis's best moments for the 1970 LP, Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits Recorded Live, giving Louis producer credit. Some of the videos from these shows have popped up on YouTube (search for "Louis Armstrong 1968" and you'll run into a batch of them in color); we can only hope for a proper DVD release one day.

By September 1968, Louis was in the hospital and fighting for his life in intensive care. Released once in November, he was right back there in January 1969 and didn't come back out until April 1969. Once back home, doctor's forbid him from playing. He continued to practice every night but spent the next year at home, working on his tapes and writing autobiographical manuscripts.

By early 1970, Louis was allowed to appear on television talk shows, always singing a variety of material: "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," "I Surrender Dear," "St. Louis Blues," "Moon River," "Jeepers Creepers," "What a Wonderful World," "I'm Confessin'," and more, but never with the All Stars. 

Finally, in the summer of 1970, Louis was allowed to reunite with the All Stars for two weeks at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, where he shared the bill with Pearl Bailey. Louis was given 30 minutes a night--a long way off from the days of the 2 1/2 hour shows--but he was so happy to back on stage with his band that he threw everything he had into it. Nothing survives from the Vegas gigs but at the Louis Armstrong House Museum, we have one of Louis's handwritten set lists:

As you can see, Louis was ready to play. As originally written by Louis, he would have played at least some trumpet on "Sleepy Time," "Indiana," "Some Day," "Tiger Rag," "Hello, Dolly," "Pretty Little Missy" and "When the Saints Go Marching In," only taking a break to throw it over to Marty Napoleon for a feature. But that might have proven to be too much as he crossed out "Pretty Little Missy" and replaced it with the vocal-only "What a Wonderful World" (Joe Muranyi also got a feature that ended with a "G chord"; each All Star got one feature per set). Louis was back and critics like Leonard Feather raved that the trumpet sounded good and everything was as it was in 1968 before the illness.

After the International Hotel, Louis did another two weeks in Vegas in late 1970. Once again, we turn to Louis's own hand; in one of his catalogs of handwritten song lyrics, Louis wrote out the following:

 DAILY ROUTINE - TROPICANA HOTEL
LAS VEGAS NEVADA 12/26/70 to 8/71

1. Sleepy Time
2. Indiana
3. Someday
4. Moe's Solo (bass) [Edmund "Mo" Scarazzo played bass on this engagement]
5. Pretty Little Missy
6. Tiger Rag
7. Marty's Solo (piano) [Marty Napoleon]
8. Hello, Dolly
9. Joe Muranyi's Solo (Clarinet)
10. Kiss to Build a Dream On
11. Tyree Glen's Solo 2 (trombone)
12. Jim Jaye's Drum solo [Jim Jaye--possible wrong name--played drums for this engagement]
13. Boy From New Orleans

Under that set list, Louis added the following "Alternate Numbers":
All the Time in the World
Mack the Knife
Blueberry Hill
What a Wonderful World
You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans
That's My Desire

So that's what Louis was doing for his two weeks in Vegas, now up to an hour a night and still featuring a good deal of trumpet.

Of course, the final engagement was at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, March 2-15, 1971 with Louis and the All Stars doing two one-hour sets a night. Before the gig, Louis went on TV with the All Stars and did a variety of numbers, including "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," "Ole Miss" (with trumpet solo)," "Pretty Little Missy" and "Blueberry Hill." He was also now featuring "Boy from New Orleans" regularly at this point. The Waldorf gigs ended with a large house orchestra augmenting the All Stars for "What a Wonderful World" and "Boy from New Orleans" but also, very possibly, "We Have All the Time in the World" and "Pretty Little Missy" since Louis had large band arrangements of both those numbers.

John S. Wilson gave Louis a positive review on opening night and mentioned Louis playing the trumpet on "Indiana," "Some Day" and "Tiger Rag." So if I had to guess, I'd say the Waldorf sets probably looked a lot like the above list from the Tropicana in Vegas, just with features for Arvell Shaw and Danny Barcelona added instead of Mo Scarazzo and Jim Jaye (Jewel Brown didn't rejoin after Louis's 1968 illness), plus the big band arrangements of the aforementioned tunes.

Most interestingly, at the same time Louis created his "Daily Routine" for the 1970-1971 Tropicana gigs, he created a separate handwritten "List of tunes - to call." Now, a few of these tunes were songs he hadn't played with any regularity in the last few years but the majority were there in that 1966-1971 period when he started his decline. Deep down, he probably thought he was getting better and would be back to performing regularly soon enough and he wanted to have a repertoire of tunes to call from. In fact, he had six tunes arranged in the beginning of 1971 to allow him and Tyree Glenn to sit in with different musicians whenever they wanted (as they did at the National Press Club in January 1971): "Boy From New Orleans," "Hello, Dolly," "That's My Desire," "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," "What a Wonderful World" and most surprisingly--since we haven't encountered it since 1962--"I Get Ideas." So here's Louis's final "List of tunes - to call" from 1971:

1. Sleepy Time
2. Indiana
3. Wonderful World
4. Kiss to Build a Dream On
5. Muskrat Ramble
6. Hello Dolly
7. I Get Ideas
8. Someday
9. I Cried for You
10. Blueberry Hill
11. Mac the Knife
12. Stomping at the Savoy
13. St. James Infirmary
14. Tenderly - You'll Never Walk Alone
15. Saints
16. Ole Miss
17. Tin Roof Blues
18. Ol' Rockin' Chair
19. That's My Desire
20. Royal Garden Blues
21. Basin St. Blues
22. Sunnyside of the Street
23. I Surrender Dear
24. Bare Necessities
25. Vilcomen
26. No Time is good time [really, "No Time is a Good Good-Bye Time"]
27. Cabaret
28. Mame
29. Cheese Cake
30. You Rascal You
31. That's My Home
32. You Can Depend One Me
33. All the Time in the World

So there's some odd choices there; "I Cried for You" hadn't been done since Velma, "Sunny Side," "That's My Home" and "Royal Garden" disappeared by the mid-60s, "You Can Depend On Me" was a feature for Trummy in the 50s, etc. But overall, it illustrates how the Armstrong repertoire expanded in the All Stars years. James Lincoln Collier claimed that Louis was playing the same sets at the end of his life as he was doing at the birth of the All Stars in 1947. But in 1947, the following songs were not even tackled yet by Louis: "Wonderful World," "Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Hello, Dolly!" "I Get Ideas," "Blueberry Hill," "Mack the Knife," "Tenderly-You'll Never Walk Alone," "Ole Miss," "Tin Roof Blues," "Bare Necessities," "Wilcommen," "No Time is a Good Good-bye Time," "Cabaret," "Mame," "Cheese Cake," and "We Have All the Time in the World." Not to mention other All Stars favorites like "The Gypsy," "The Bucket's Got a Hole In It," "A Lot of Living to Do," "The Faithful Hussar," "Jazz Me Blues," "La Vie En Rose," "C'est Si Bon," "Ko Ko Mo"....the list goes on and on.

I know this was an exhausting (and hopefully exhaustive) series, but if it illustrated that the All Stars had a huge book and their show was consistently evolving, I've done my job. I'm going to collapse now but I suggest you spin some of the great live concerts that survive: Satchmo at Symphony Hall, Satchmo at Pasadena, Louis at the Crescendo, The Great Chicago Concert, Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, Live in East Berlin, etc.....all great. Long live the All Stars!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anatomy of an All Stars Concert - 1959-1963

This week, I revived my "Anatomy of an All Stars Concert" blogs, which originally found me analyzing sets lists from the 1947-19511952-1955 and 1955-1959 eras of the band. I've re-posted those three entries this week and now it's time to finish the job with new entries today and tomorrow on the 1959-1963 and 1964-1971 eras. Let's continue!

We left off wit Louis's marathon tour of Europe in 1959, that, after a quick jaunt back to the States in early June, ended with a heart attack suffered in Spoleto, Italy later that month. Armstrong had a rough time in the hospital for about a week but then returned home in early July. Not heeding any warning to take it easy, he had an after hours with Jack Teagarden the night he arrived back in the city and then made a surprise walk-on appearance at a birthday concert in his honor at Lewisohn Stadium, singing and playing for 15 minutes.

After a little more time off, Louis and the All Stars went back to the grind in mid-July 1959. Drummer Danny Barcelona told me that it was like nothing happened. Reporters like Leonard Feather checked out Armstrong shows of the period with a great deal of curiosity and reported the same thing. However, there were subtle changes; Armstrong was still blowing great, but was beginning to lose a little steam on some of his more demanding features. After struggling through his standard three-chorus rideout on "When the Saints Go Marchin' In" on The Ed Sullivan Show in September, that routine disappeared for good. Otherwise, Armstrong kept pushing himself into the early 60s and the band's repertoire remained almost deceptively large during this period.

We'll start off with another rarity of rarities: a standard, two-set All Stars one-nighter. As discussed in the other parts, it sometimes seems like the only All Stars shows that survive were recorded by major labels or recorded in Europe, where Louis offered shorter shows usually with similar repertoire. But it's the one-nighter shows, especially in the United States, that best show what he did night in and night out. In October, the All Stars played such a show at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. With Louis that night were trombonist Trummy Young, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, pianist Billy Kyle, bassist Mort Herbert, drummer Danny Barcelona and vocalist Velma Middleton. Here's how it went down:

October 1959 - Keesler Air Force Base
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South (opening theme)
Indiana
Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
After You've Gone (Peanuts Hucko feature)
Blueberry Hill
Love is Just Around the Corner (Mort Herbert feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
Nobody Loves a Fat Girl (Velma Middleton vocal)
That's My Desire (Louis and Velma)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In 
Mop Mop

SECOND SET 
Struttin' with Some Barebecue
C'est Si Bon
La Vie En Rose
The Faithful Hussar
Undecided (Trummy Young feature)
Rockin' Chair  (Louis and Trummy)
Girl of My Dreams (Billy Kyle feature)
Stealin' Apples (Peanuts Hucko feature)
Christopher Columbus (Mort Herbert feature)
Mack the Knife
St. Louis Blues
Don't Fence Me In (Louis and Velma)
Muskrat Ramble
Black and Blue
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans
Ol' Man River (Mort Herbert feature; Louis vocal)
Big Butter and Egg Man (Louis and Velma)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

That's a long, fully packed show. And I might add, it's one where Louis's chops took some  time getting warmed up; they never fully did but he managed to get around it because somehow, his upper register sounded great, but he struggled in the middle. So one glance shows that he still did a LOT of blowing on a B+ night for his lips. If you remember the last installment, I dissected a set list from Sweden in January 1959. The biggest similarity is in the pacing: opening with 6 or 7 numbers climaxed by "Ole Miss," then throwing it to Kyle, then Hucko, then Herbert, coming back for "Mack," letting Barcelona do "Savoy" then finishing off the first set with Velma. The second set follows a similar pattern: heavy Louis up front, more features, etc.

However, there are differences in repertoire: in Sweden, Louis played "Basin Street Blues," "Royal Garden Blues," "I Get Ideas" and the medley of "Tenderly" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." Keesler has "Bucket's Got a Hole In It," "Blueberry Hill," "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "Rockin' Chair," "Don't Fence Me In," "Muskrat Ramble," "Black and Blue," "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" and "Big Butter and Egg Man." Phew! And in neither show do you get "Someday You'll Be Sorry," "Back O'Town Blues," "Tin Roof Blues," "The Gypsy," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" and others staples.

One difference, though, regards "The Saints"; after struggling on Ed Sullivan a few weeks before, Louis discarded the three-choruses of trumpet playing he always ended it with. Instead, he performed it twice, but the first time, where he'd normally play, he threw it to Danny Barcelona with "Mop Mop" and the second time, he stopped on a dime and headed into a closing "Sleepy Time." This May is the 75th anniversary of Louis's first version of "The Saints" so I'll have more about that then. Also, Louis opened "Tiger Rag" up in Europe, doing encore after encore, driving the the tune up to 9 minutes sometimes! That ended with the heart attack; from then on, "Tiger Rag" would be a quick, 90-second romp. And if you notice the different title to Velma's blues, she began singing new lyrics around this point ("Nobody Loves a Fat Girl") and seems to have eliminated her split.

In 1960, three single set performances survive, now with Barney Bigard replacing Hucko. It's worth showing the sets to illustrate what Louis would choose when he only had an hour (or less) to wow his fans and feature his All Stars. The first one comes from Madison Square Garden and it's one of the few things from this period that I've actually never heard but have always wanted to because it's pretty action packed:


June 3, 1960 - Madison Square Garden
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
Ole Miss
Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home
Back O'Town Blues
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
Pretty Little Missy
St. Louis Blues (Louis and Velma)
Ko Ko Mo (Louis and Velma)

Like I said, I haven't heard that one but Louis must have been feeling good to call so many demanding numbers in a row (it was also part of a "World Series of Jazz" festival so maybe his competitive instincts kicked in). Almost all trumpet showpieces; no "Blueberry Hill," no "Kiss to Build a Dream On," not even "Mack the Knife." But we do see "Back O'Town Blues," which we haven't encountered in a concert setting since October 1955. And there's also "Bill Bailey," which Louis did in the 1959 film The Five Pennies. After that came out, it became a favorite of Louis's until Jewel Brown joined the band in 1961 and took it over. 

Then it was off to Newport:

July 1, 1960 - Newport Jazz Festival
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
Girl of My Dreams (Billy Kyle feature)
C-Jam Blues (Barney Bigard feature)
Blueberry Hill
Undecided (Trummy Young feature)
I'm Beginning to See the Light (Mort Herbert feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
St. Louis Blues (Louis and Velma)
Ko Ko Mo (Louis and Velma)
After You've Gone
When The Saints Go Marchin' In
Star-Spangled Banner

Now that's a pretty straightforward concert (and one that can be listened to at Wolfgang's Vault here): you've got the hits ("Blueberry," "Mack," "Saints") but also some numbers for the strictly jazz crowd ("Bucket," "Ole Miss") and Louis plays on all the features except Kyle's. "After You've Gone" was a Hucko feature but after Hucko left, Louis liked it, so he began playing it as a hot instrumental to escort Velma offstage. For proof that this was the standard one set show, here's the standard one set show as performed at the Oregon State Fair in Salem, Oregon in September 1960. This one survives on LP and I've always thought it captured a somewhat tired performance by the band:

September 2 or 3, 1960 - Oregon State Fair
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
Back O'Town Blues
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
Pennies from Heaven (Billy Kyle feature)
China Boy (Barney Bigard feature)
Blueberry Hill
Undecided (Trummy Young feature)
It's Only a Paper Moon (Mort Herbert feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
St. Louis Blues (Louis and Velma)
Ko Ko Mo (Louis and Velma)
When The Saints Go Marchin' In
Mop Mop
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

I have to admit that I just copied and pasted the Newport set list and made minimal changes; everything's intact except the sideman play some different feature (nice to hear Louis on "China Boy") and for his "New Orleans" segment, Louis substituted "Back O'Town Blues" for "My Bucket's Got a Hole In It."

But WAIT! Don't give up on Pops just yet! In the middle of all of that, in late July 1960, Louis played the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL. Young John McDonough (yes, the great jazz journalist) was there and recorded some of it on a portable tape deck whose batteries must have been a little low at some point. McDonough had discerning taste so when Louis threw it to the other All Stars, he switched off the recorder, so I don't know the full sets. But selected tracks have survived and they're incredible. Here's a selection of what he played at Ravinia

July 27 and 29, 1960 - Ravinia Festival
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
Basin Street Blues
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
I Surrender Dear (Barney Bigard feature)
I Get Ideas
West End Blues
On the Sunny Side of the Street
The Faithful Hussar
Bill Bailey

Some great stuff there including IT: "West End Blues," which we haven't seen with the All Stars since Chicago 1956. We also haven't seen "Sunny Side of the Street" with the All Stars since Chicago 1956, or "Basin Street Blues" and "I Get Ideas" since Europe 1959. On "Basin Street," Louis even improvised some brand new lines and played a rare encore, complete with a quote from "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue." And "I Surrender Dear" was a feature for Bigard that also included some beautiful singing and playing by Pops. So this show might have started the same as the others from 1960, but as it got deeper, Louis proved that the All Stars book was just as deep as ever. 

The only two-set show from 1960 comes from Elisabethstad, Ketanga in the Belgian Congo, November 1960. It's worth comparing it to the Keesler show of the previous October:

November 1960 - Belgian Congo
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
All the Things You Are (Billy Kyle feature)
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
Tea for Two (Barney Bigard feature)
I Surrender Dear (Barney Bigard feature with Louis vocal)
Blueberry Hill
Rockin' Chair(Trummy and Louis)
Body and Soul (Mort Herbert feature)
How High the Moon (Mort Herbert feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
St. Louis Blues (Louis and Velma)
Ko Ko Mo (Louis and Velma)
]When The Saints Go Marchin' In
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
C'est Si Bon
La Vie En Rose
Undecided (Trummy Young feature)
Nobody Loves a Fat Girl (Velma Middleton feature)
That's My Desire (Louis and Velma)
I Can't Give You Anything But Love/Bill Bailey
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

The first set is pretty much the standard cookie-cutter 1960 single set, but the All Stars double up on their features. This was a grueling tour and perhaps Louis needed to slow it down (but again, he played on every one of their features except All the Things You Are" so it wasn't like he was napping). But in the second set, we get the first versions of "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "C'est Si Bon" and "La Vie En Rose" since 1959, plus a few bars of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" before "Bill Bailey." Like his European shows, it's packed with hits (still no "Kiss to Build a Dream On"!) but still has a lot of trumpet features, especially in that short, second set.

However, that would be the last surviving audio of a set with Velma Middleton; she died in February 1961. The All Stars played a single set in Sweden that month and frankly, they sound a little lost, grouping some tunes into medleys, Trummy singing "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" and otherwise, just trying to make it through the grief. After that, Louis took a month off and spent the rest of the year at home, which as usual, means very little survives. But does survive is very interesting.

First Louis returned to Newport on June 30, 1961, but this time, the Festival only gave him 30 minutes instead of an hour, which I'm sure bothered him (he also had 30 minutes his first year at Newport in 1955 and he fumed about it in a private writing). Armstrong had a new vocalist in Jewel Brown and made sure she got two numbers. Otherwise, he could only play seven tunes and six should be no surprise by this point: "Sleepy Time," "Indiana," "Bucket's Got a Hole In It," "Tiger Rag," "Now You Has Jazz" and "The Saints." But the seventh was extra special: "That's My Home," which you could hear on this blog from December. He played it on Ed Sullivan when he returned to the United States after that exhausting tour and liked it enough to keep it in the book. This is the only surviving performance of it from the 1960s but Arvell Shaw, who rejoined the band in 1963, remembered it being a staple (and I've found a review of a 1964 concert that praised it so we must assume it was regularly called in the early 60s).

But just when you might think Louis was getting in a rut, like the Ravinia set, I have another surprise. In September 1961, The All Stars played at Freedomland in New York. The amusement park's sound engineer, Pete Denis, recorded them on September 7. He didn't get the entire show, but what he did get was illuminating. Louis, Trummy, Kyle, Barcelona and Brown were still there but now Joe Darensbourg was on clarinet and Irv Manning was on bass. The two tapes Denis recorded were donated to the Louis Armstrong House Museum in 2012 and I just transferred them last week. Because they're the property of the Armstrong Archives, I cannot share any audio, but here are the sets that survive (discographers take note!): 

September 7, 1961 - Freedomland
SECOND SET (assumed)
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
I Surrender Dear
Jazz Me Blues
West End Blues
T'aint What You Do (Trummy Young feature)
Ain't Misbehavin' (Irv Manning feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
All of Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Looking Back (Jewel Brown feature)
My Man (Jewel Brown feature)
THIRD SET (assumed)
Muskrat Ramble
Blueberry Hill
Basin Street Blues
Undecided (Trummy Young feature)
How Long Blues (Joe Darensbourg feature)
Mop Mop (Danny Barcelona feature)
How High the Moon (Irv Manning feature)
The Next Time You See Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
After You've Gone
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

Wow! Armstrong played three short sets daily at Freedomland (possibly more) so these obviously don't constitute the first "Sleepy Time/Indiana/High Society songs" set. But it does prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Louis was still digging deep into his bag of tricks. I mean, "West End Blues"??? He was 60 (and take my word for it, it is TREMENDOUS). Barney left, but Louis kept "I Surrender Dear" as a feature for himself (and take my word for it, it is TREMENDOUS). He hadn't touched "Jazz Me Blues" (in front of a recording device) in ten years. We haven't seen "Muskrat" since 1959. Even Trummy hadn't done "T'ain't What You Do," with any regularity, the last surviving version being from 1955. (Unfortunately, the tape did not capture Manning's complete feature on "Ain't Misbehavin'" so I'm not even sure if Louis played or sang on that one, though I'd assume he did.)

That same month, part of a broadcast survives from Pottstown, Pennsylvania (jazz capital of the world) and it has Louis doing "Pretty Little Missy" and most surprising, "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" which we literally have not documented since 1953! "West End Blues,""Jazz Me Blues," "Confessin'," "Back O'Town Blues," "Muskrat Ramble," "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "Pretty Little Missy," "I Surrender Dear," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," I Get Ideas," "La Vie En Rose," "C'est Si Bon," "Basin Street Blues," "The Faithful Hussar"....so many different numbers to choose from in 1960 and 1961 yet if the Ravinia and Freedomland tapes didn't surface (neither are in the definitive Armstrong discography, Jos Willems' All of Me), it would be easy to assume that the All Stars were getting into that "same songs every night" rut in the early 1960s. Not quite...

....but close enough. Because we now arrive at 1962 and for me, this is where things start to change. Louis blew tremendously in the two years after the heart attack and obviously was still choosing from a very deep repertoire of tunes. But that all changes for the most part in 1962. Well, maybe it does, maybe it doesn't; perhaps some rare concert tapes will surface that will blow this theory to smithereens. But for now, 1962 is the year when things start to solidify a bit.

Perhaps one reason for this is the sheer number of concerts that survive from Europe. As related in past entries, Louis knew he didn't see his European fans as often as those in the United States, so he usually set up a tight show and didn't change it much throughout his tours. There's always SOMETHING to change it up a bit but for the most part, these shows are identical. I'll detail the changes in a minute, but for the most part, this was the 1962 European tour show:

April 12, 1962 - Hildesheim, Germany
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tin Roof Blues
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
When I Grow Too Old to Dream (Billy Kyle feature)
I Get Ideas
Yellow Dog Blues (Joe Darensbourg feature)
Lover Come Back to Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue (assumed)
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
Blueberry Hill
The Faithful Hussar
S'Wonderful (Billy Cronk feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
St. Louis Blues (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In
After You've Gone
When It's Sleepy Time Down South

First thing we notice: "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" is back for the first time in a documented All Stars show since 1956!! And brother, it ain't leavin'; as long as Pops's chops were up, it was a mainstay until illness forced him to stop performing regularly with the band in 1968. But this was it. Louis would come out and still do more than a half hour, but now you got the usual "Sleepy Time" and "Indiana," always followed by "Kiss to Build a Dream On," the trip to New Orleans with "Bucket" and sometimes "Tin Roof Blues," a quick "Tiger Rag," the songs from High Society and a demanding "Ole Miss." Then after a Billy Kyle feature, Louis would do something: in Hildesheim, it's a wonderful "I Get Ideas," the last surviving version of it and the only other one in the 60s after Ravinia in 1960. Sometimes, he saved "Tin Roof Blues" for that segment.

After the features for the sidemen and Jewel Brown, the first set usually ended with "The Saints." And though it's not on the surviving audio, the second set always began with "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and then Louis announcing a medley of three numbers, "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "Blueberry Hill" and "The Faithful Hussar." Interestingly, he does not perform them as a medley; they're three standalone performances. But then the sidemen take it out (Bill Cronk now on bass, playing Barney Bigard's old feature of "S'wonderful" and Louis would end with "After You've Gone" into "Sleepy Time." It's especially nice to see "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," which had never been part of the All Stars' book. Louis had filmed a performance of it for a Goodyear film in April and it stayed in for much of the year.

But just when it looks stagnant, here comes another curveball. On May 17, 1962, Louis played Nice and I'm assuming Hughes Panassie and members of the Hot Club of France were in attendance because Louis changed up his choices on the second set. Here's how it went down in Nice (available in near complete form on The Armstrong Box; I've plugged in the numbers I assume to be missing):

May 17, 1962 - Nice, France
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag
Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Ole Miss
Perdido (Billy Kyle feature)
Tin Roof Blues
Yellow Dog Blues (Joe Darensbourg feature)
All of Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Georgia On My Mind (Jewel Brown feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In (assumed)
SECOND SET
Struttin' with Some Barbecue 
C'est Si Bon
Jazz Me Blues
Basin Street Blues
Blueberry Hill
Margie (Trummy Young feature)
The Man I Love (Billy Cronk feature)
Mack the Knife
Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
Lover Come Back to Me (Jewel Brown feature)
St. Louis Blues (Jewel Brown feature)
After You've Gone
When It's Sleepy Time Down South (assumed)

So for the Hot Club, Louis dispensed with "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and instead reached back for "C'est Si Bon" (when in France....), "Basin Street Blues" and the highlight, "Jazz Me Blues."


When Armstrong got back to the United States, it was back to the one-nighters. A two-set show was captured in Chicago on August 1. Much of it has been issued (but not in complete form) though it captures a strong, but subdued Louis playing in front of what sounds like a small, but subdued crowd. . Still, it's all we have from 1962 AND 1963 in terms of a complete two-set show, so this is probably how it went down for much of the time:

August 1, 1962 - Chicago
FIRST SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Indiana
A Kiss to Build a Dream On
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It
Tiger Rag

Blueberry Hill

Now You Has Jazz
High Society Calypso
Struttin' with Some Barbecue
When I Grow Too Old to Dream (Billy Kyle feature)
Basin Street Blues
Yellow Dog Blues (Joe Darensbourg feature)
All of Me (Jewel Brown feature)
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Jewel Brown feature)
St. Louis Blues (Jewel Brown feature)
When the Saints Go Marchin' In 
SECOND SET
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
New Orleans Function (Flee as a Bird/Oh, Didn't He Ramble)
C'est Si Bon
Ole Miss
La Vie En Rose
The Faithful Hussar
Undecided (Trummy Young feature)
Mack the Knife

Stompin' at the Savoy (Danny Barcelona feature)
Bill Bailey (Jewel Brown feature)
Have You Heard About Jerry (Jewel Brown feature)
After You've Gone

When It's Sleepy Time Down South (assumed)

Now, I don't have a copy of this show either; info is taken from the All of Me discography. But I do wonder about "Ole Miss" appearing in between "C'est Si Bon" and "La Vie En Rose," as well as the lack of a bass feature for the entire two sets. But overall, it's a good summation of what songs Louis was comfortable with heading deeper into the 1960s. The three big hits are now here to stay: "Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Blueberry Hill," "Mack the Knife." And for trumpet features, "Ole Miss" and "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" were the preferred features, while he also wasn't afraid to blow it out on the two French numbers and "The Faithful Hussar." The biggest surprise? "New Orleans Function"! Yes, Louis's recreation of the old New Orleans funeral procession was a standard second set opener in the early 1950s but it disappeared almost completely around 1954. But Louis did it for Italian TV earlier in 1962 so it might have made an extended comeback around this time.

So when you see "Jazz Me Blues," "I Get Ideas," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "New Orleans Function," "'C'est Si Bon," etc., it shows that Louis was still dipping into his bag of tricks...but the bag was getting smaller. This concert contains the last surviving surviving versions of those tunes. Also, from here on out, no more "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "West End Blues," "I Surrender Dear," "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," "Confessin'," "The Gypsy"....the ranks were getting thinner. 

Only one set survives from the entire year of 1963--an Australian TV show now on DVD--and it contains no surprises except for a very fine late version of "Basin Street Blues." A collector tells me a complete Louis in Japan concert survives from that year but I can't varify it. Jack Bradley did see Louis a lot in this time and in his Coda magazine columns of the period, he always raved. I've also also already mentioned that review where "That's My Home" is listed. So it's possible Louis still called out some different "good old good ones" but there's no recorded evidence of this.

But at the end of 1963, Louis recorded "Hello, Dolly!' and his world turned upside down. There are lots of sets to choose from from 1964-1968 so I'll analyze those next time out, bringing this series to a close. Til next time (and if you're still with me at this point, THANKS for sticking it out!).