The Louis Armstrong Discography: Stardom - Louis Armstrong On His Own (1929 - 1932)

The Louis Armstrong Discography: Stardom - Louis Armstrong On His Own (1929 - 1932)

When Lil Armstrong led her husband from the comfort of steady work with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, Louis responded by leading the Hot Fives into a revolutionary two-year period that left New Orleans jazz in the dust. Now, cut loose from the bonds of matrimony -- however lax -- Armstrong made another astounding leap forward. Already renowned in jazz circles, he was soon leaving his mark on the popular music market -- indeed, on the entire society as a whole.

Armstrong stormed back into New York with a happy confidence that had the music world giddily reeling. The country's top songwriters queued to coax the new star to perform their tunes. The astounding series of records that followed forever bridged the gap between black and white music styles: AIN'T MISBEHAVIN', BLACK AND BLUE, WHEN YOU'RE SMILING, ALL OF ME... Pops became a master interpreter of American song.

By the end of this initial three-year period of stardom, Louis was able to make the effortless transition from "race" artist to mainstream "pop" artist. Though "purists" are unforgiving to this day for a perceived abandonment of traditional New Orleans jazz, by moving in a more popular direction, Armstrong created a following that would have been otherwise unobtainable. His audience swiftly bridged the racial and cultural gaps, and his popularity overflowed into Europe and Africa. His bold example cleared the way for all the black entertainers to follow.

Seger Ellis
June 4, 1929: New York, NY

Seger Ellis A by-now rare appearance on another artist's record, a thoroughly eclectic pairing with bandleader Seger Ellis. This pair of tracks that would seem, on first listening, as a slip backward for Satch. But, on further examination, these sides are thoroughly charming, positivelysopping with a 1920's aesthetic created by Ellis' nasal tenor. And -- what's this?!? -- one glance at the sidemen affirms an additional importance to this session that is at once disposable and timeless. Not only that, but ithas to be noted that Seger Ellis was OKeh's top-selling male vocalist of the era, a man who constantly surrounded himself with some of the top jazzmen -- black and white -- of the time. He is absolutely forgotten now, but these 1929 sides are really the equivalent of a duet between Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson: memorable if for nothing else but their eccentric unlikelihood.

Personnel

Victoria Spivey
July 10, 1929: New York, NY

Another side project for Satch, though, with the impending success of hisnextrecording, destined to be pretty much his last. This also marks the reunion of the Chicago "Orchestra", now re-situated in New York.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
July 19, 1929: New York, NY

The first of four songs from the hit Harlem production of "Hot Chocolates". AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' is destined to become a signature tune for Louis throughout his career, featuring an inspired riff lifted from RHAPSODY IN BLUE.

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
July 22, 1929: New York, NY

Three more songs from the hit Harlem production of "Hot Chocolates.". BLACK AND BLUE is a terrific statement on the black condition years before such public proclamations were deemed acceptable. Along with Ain't Misbehavin', the two together created a double-sided whammy on release.

Personnel

Seger Ellis
August 23, 1929: New York, NY

The unforgettable Seger returns with his own rendition of Armstrong's monster hit. All that's missing is the megaphone! His backup, though, keeps getting better and better, what with the addition of Venuti and Lang. Must be heard to be appreciated.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
September 10, 1929: New York, NY

A third, non-vocal take of SOME OF THESE DAYS (W.402943-F) has been rumored to be released, but the only known copy shows no difference between it and W.402923-C.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
September 11, 1929: New York, NY

The juggling matrix numbers, begun with SOME OF THESE DAYS, continue with this number.

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
November 19, 1929: New York, NY

Two tracks OKeh passed on.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
November 26, 1929: New York, NY

Take B, earmarked for South American release, was withdrawn at the last minute. It turned up, along with the long-lost take C, in time for inclusion on Columbia's "Louis in New York" set.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
December 10, 1929: New York, NY

Introducing an entirely new lineup for the Orchestra. The two non-vocal tracks remained unissued until Columbia's CD series in 1991.

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
December 13, 1929: New York, NY

The non-vocal takes of ST. LOUIS BLUES were unissued until Columbia's CD release of 1991.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
December 13, 1929: New York, NY

Take A of ROCKIN' CHAIR is only available on an obscure Italian release on the King Jazz label.

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
January 24, 1930: New York, NY

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Louis Armstrong
February 1, 1930, New York City

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Louis Armstrong
April 5, 1930: New York, NY

An odd recording anomaly, credited only to "Louis Armstrong".

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
April 5, 1930: New York, NY

Yet another completely fresh lineup for the Orchestra. As always, Louis has the uncanny knack of grooving with whatever set of cats he sits with!

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
May 4, 1930: New York, NY

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Jimmie Rodgers
July 16, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

Here we find Jimmie Rodgers, reknowned as "the father of country music," paired with the father of jazz & swing in a truly rare moment. Louis had just arrived in L.A., ready for an engagement at the New Sebastian Cotton Club and his first appearance on film in "Ex-Flame". Also appearing is estranged wife Lil, making one last ditch effort to bring her wayward husband back to the fold; needless to say, her effort went for naught.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra
July 21, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

Though often criticized as "minor league", Leon Elkins' orchestra backed Louis more than adequately on a number of memorable, swinging sides. Armstrong was also introduced to a performer who was every bit a major talent in vibes master Lionel Hampton.

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Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra
August 19, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

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Ex-Flame (film)
September, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

Louis makes his Hollywood debut in this film for for Tiffany Productions (Liberty Films?). No print has survived although a publicity still with some members of the band, the Les Hite Orchestra, is extant. Personnel is taken from 10/9/1930 recording date and is speculative. Willems notes the presence of Lawrence Brown in the still, who had recently been replaced by Luther Craven (often misspelled Graven). Date is from Willems.

imdb.com

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra
October 9, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

A completely new lineup for the Orchestra (except for the great Hampton).

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra
October 16, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

Two songs by the erstwhile songwriting pairing of Eubie Blake and Andy Razaf.

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Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra
December 23, 1930: Los Angeles, CA

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Louis Armstrong And His New Sebastian Cotton Club Orchestra
March 9, 1931: Los Angeles, CA

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Mixed Doubles (film)
Early 1931: Los Angeles, CA

A rumored second Hollywood film for Tiffany Productions, probably with the Les Hite Orchestra. No print has survived. This may have been produced as early as 1930.

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
April 20, 1931: Chicago, IL

Back in Chicago for a year, Louis hits the studio for a series of landmark recordings for OKeh -- includingYou Rascal You, Them There Eyes and his trademark song,When It's Sleepy Time Down South. Though 1931 only saw three sets of studio sessions for Louis, they were extremely productive.

Personnel

Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
April 28, 1931: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
April 29, 1931: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
November 3, 1931: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
November 4, 1931: Chicago, IL

Take 2 ofWrap Your Troubles In Dreamscan be found on LP issue, along with Take 3 ofStardust. There is also a supposed release of Take 3 ofWrap Your Troubles, though this cannot be verified.

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
November 5, 1931: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
November 6, 1931: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
January 25, 1932: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
January 27, 1932: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
March 2, 1932: Chicago, IL

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Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra
March 11, 1932: Chicago, IL

Now at the end of a contract with Okeh, Armstrong leaves Chicago once again for the East Coast and a short but productive term with the Victor company.

Personnel

Rhapsody in Black and Blue (film)
Early 1932: Fort Lee, New Jersey

A short film featuring Armstrong as a lazy husband who is knocked out by his wife and takes an offbeat dreamtrip to Jazztopia where King Louis performs in full jungle regalia. If you can get past the jaw-dropping setting, it's a very exciting performance that helps explain Armstrong's growing popularity in the 1930s.

imdb.com

I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You (film)
Early 1932: Fort Lee, New Jersey

A typically bizarre, nightmarish Betty Boop cartoon with cannibal Louis scaring the daylights out of the lead cartoon characters. Perhaps recorded on the same day asRhapsody in Black and Blue.

imdb.com