Chuck Nessa

New Pops on the way

155 posts in this topic

From facebook:

It's finally official! Mosaic Records just got the green light tonight to go ahead with the production of a 9-CD Louis Armstrong boxed set of live Columbia and RCA recordings, 1947-1958!!! Not only will it be a dream come true for All Stars fans but it's also a big deal for me personally as I first wrote to Mosaic with the idea in 2006 and will now be writing the gigantic liner notes and co-producing the set with the great Scott Wenzel. I'll have more details when I come back down to earth, probably in the form of a blog later this week. Dreams come true indeed....

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Good to hear, even though it's not my favourite Armstrong period.

Edited by J.A.W.

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Way cool, and a nice birthday present for you Chuck!

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So I guess that means The Town Hall set getting the Mosaic treatment. Offhand that, Ambassador Satch and Satchmo the great are the only three live pops from Columbia and RCA I can think of. That means a lot of previously unreleased stuff. COOOL!

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So I guess that means The Town Hall set getting the Mosaic treatment. Offhand that, Ambassador Satch and Satchmo the great are the only three live pops from Columbia and RCA I can think of. That means a lot of previously unreleased stuff. COOOL!

This 1956 Chicago concert on Columbia is pretty wonderful.

But yeah, the Town Hall concert in excellent sound would be nice.

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So I guess that means The Town Hall set getting the Mosaic treatment. Offhand that, Ambassador Satch and Satchmo the great are the only three live pops from Columbia and RCA I can think of. That means a lot of previously unreleased stuff. COOOL!

This 1956 Chicago concert on Columbia is pretty wonderful.

But yeah, the Town Hall concert in excellent sound would be nice.

Forgot that one. Yes! It is wonderful.

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And their is also the Newport album shared with Eddie Condon.,

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AWESOME!!! Probably no word on the release date already. But hopefully sometime in 2013. I will certainly be ordering this!

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So Chuck, I assume the set will also include material issued on Ambassador? I got hold of all of those (I think) at the Louis Armstrong House in Queens a few weeks ago. There's some lovely stuff there.

gregmo

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Hi all, Ricky Riccardi here. Thanks, Chuck, for breaking the news here on Organissimo. I'm happy to reveal some more details here, especially since you can probably search through the Archives and find me ranting about wishing Sony would do such a set about 6 or 7 years ago. It took a little longer than I thought but I'm thrilled Mosaic is doing it and that I'll be a part of it. Here's a quick breakdown of what to expect:

1947 Town Hall concert - It was more difficult than you'd imagine for Sony to locate the original tapes used for the old French RCA set, but they did. I, too, am hoping Andreas Meyer can improve the sound.

1947 Carnegie Hall concert - This is extra special, from November 15, 1947, two weeks before the more famous Symphony Hall concert. Not a second has been issued commercially (but for my faithful blog readers, I've shared the occasional track from my personal copy). RCA, who had Pops under contract, recorded it (probably again thanks to Ernie Anderson) but sat on it. Unfortunately, the complete set of acetates doesn't survive. In the early 50s, someone at RCA dubbed, I'm assuming, what they felt to be the best tracks onto reels. Thus, about 90 minutes of what was probably a two-hour concert survives (in great sound quality). The reels were mislabeled and buried until Ben Young discovered them about a decade ago. He couldn't drum up any interest at BMG to release it so I'm happy it's finally coming out through Mosaic.

Spoken word interviews - To break it up, the "Paris Interview" with Edward R. Murrow will be included, along with a 16+ minute interview between Louis and George Avakian done to promote "Ambassador Satch" (unissued).

Amsterdam concert - On October 30, 1955, Avakian began recording for "Ambassador Satch" by taping an entire show in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, the complete concert doesn't survive. (Remember the "Chicago Concert" story about how Michael Brooks snatched it as Columbia was about to throw it out? I have a feeling Amsterdam didn't get snatched.) However, George did copy all of the tracks he thought were worth issuing, so they're all here, two that made it onto "Satchmo the Great," four that made it onto "Ambassador Satch" and a couple of unissued ones (including a great "Back O'Town Blues").

Milan session - This, to me, is a high point. On December 20, 1955, Avakian wanted to record more for "Ambassador Satch" but he wanted to try some different stuff. So he rented out a movie theater, invited a couple of dozen enthusiastic Italian fans, and pretty much ran a recording session, adding lots of fake applause. We have 3 of the 4 original reels, so we'll have unedited versions (without the fake applause, but with the Italians screaming) of lots of stuff that didn't make it onto the album: "Clarinet Marmalade," "Someday You'll Be Sorry," "That's a Plenty," "You Can Depend On Me," "Lonesome Road" and a different version of "Dardanella," in addition to "West End Blues," "Faithful Hussar," "Tiger Rag" and "Royal Garden Blues." An embarrassment of riches, the unreleased tracks are just as good as what got released (my notes, though, will explain why they didn't make it onto the finished album).

Los Angeles session - Not a live date, but it works. On January 24, 1956, Avakian recorded the All Stars at a Los Angeles studio, finishing "Ambassador Satch" with "Twelfth Street Rag" and "All of Me" and then recording a single of "Six Foot Four" and "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along." We found the entire session reels for this date so we'll have multiple, unedited takes of each selection (no fake applause).

Random bits - a version of "Mack the Knife" from Carnegie Hall that ended up on "Satchmo the Great," and audio of a few performances that ended up in the film: "Bucket's Got a Hole in It" from Empress Hall in England and "Royal Garden Blues" and "Ole Miss" from Africa.

The Great Chicago Concert - The CD set has been out-of-print for years so it will be nice to have this fantastic show in one place again (nothing new, though).

Newport 1956 - George recorded Louis's entire set and as Harold pointed out, released a portion on an LP shared with Eddie Condon. But the released portion is a mess: "Indiana" is from the Chicago concert, "Whispering" was a bass feature in which Avakian eliminated the opening bass choruses and "Mack the Knife" had a vocal spliced in from an alternate studio take! We have the whole set and will be issuing it complete for the first time.

Lewisohn Stadium 1956 - This was the big concert that Armstrong shared with Dave Brubeck, ending the evening by doing "St. Louis Blues" with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. However, earlier in the day, there was a rehearsal. Avakian had the equipment ready and as always, was craving new material. So again, in front of a small audience, probably made up of Philharmonic musicians, he recorded multiple takes of "Mahogany Hall Stomp," "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" and "Blueberry Hill." We'll have them, unedited and in multiple instances, unissued. But then George, after recording Louis in Chicago and Newport, figured Louis wasn't going to record perform anything new so he didn't record the All Stars' actual set that evening. But he did turn it on in time to record "St. Louis Blues".....THREE TIMES! This, to me, was the highlight find, hearing this whole sequence go down, with Bernstein addressing the audience, a film camera breaking down, Edward R. Murrow coming out, Louis playing encores to keep the fans satisfied. It's incredible.

Newport 1958 - And finally, another gem, Louis's entire Newport set from 1958, of which only three tracks have ever been released ("Ko Ko Mo," "Rockin' Chair" and the "Saints"). It was recorded in stereo and Louis is in superhuman form. There's virtually no overlap in repertoire from Newport 1958 and it ends where the set began with a reunion between Louis, Teagarden and Bobby Hackett.

So there it is. I hope everyone else is as excited as I am. I know a lot of All Stars naysayers might think, "Ugh, 9-CDs of All Stars concerts....how many versions of 'Indiana' do I need?" But because of the nature of the set, it's very, very varied: Town Hall was a one-off, no one will complain about hearing the Teagarden-Catlett edition at Carnegie Hall, we have all the different repertoire and unissued material from "Ambassador Satch," two extended interviews, the Chicago Concert with its different repertoire, two totally different Newport sets, the Bernstein sequence, etc. It's a little bit of everything that made Louis so special in this period.

I am now going to retreat into note-writing mode but I might have some more to say on my blog in the next few days (though I doubt it....this little sneak peak already went on longer than I thought!). I still have to hammer it out with Scott but he did say that it will be released in 2013 and if everything goes smoothly, could be as early as the Fall. Stay tuned!

Yours in Pops,

Ricky Riccardi

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Very cool! Thanks for sharing details, Ricky!

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Perhaps I missed a mention of it, but what about the studio outtake of Louis and Lotte Lenya doing "Mack the Knife"?

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Perhaps I missed a mention of it, but what about the studio outtake of Louis and Lotte Lenya doing "Mack the Knife"?

Sorry, Paul, just live material and material Avakian "faked" to seem live. So no Louis and Lenya, no W. C. Handy, no Satch Plays Fats or anything that was strictly a studio date.

Ricky

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Okay, now I'm starting to get excited.

And it's not quite true that "not a second" of the 1947 Carnegie Hall concert has been issued commercially. I've got a CD with a track from that show, and I believe several tracks have shown up over the years. How legal it all was, I don't know.

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Perhaps I missed a mention of it, but what about the studio outtake of Louis and Lotte Lenya doing "Mack the Knife"?

Sorry, Paul, just live material and material Avakian "faked" to seem live. So no Louis and Lenya, no W. C. Handy, no Satch Plays Fats or anything that was strictly a studio date.

Ricky

My bad - missed the "live" part.

Edited by paul secor

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Jeff, the Carnegie Hall concert from February 1947 with Louis and Edmond Hall's sextet has been issued, usually as "1947 Carnegie Hall Concert" (we sell a copy of it on the Ambassador label) so perhaps that's what you're thinking of. Jos Willems's "All of Me" discography lists no known issues. Again, I had a copy and leaked a few tracks over the years on my blog...perhaps someone scooped the audio up and passed something around, but the concert is more or less unknown. Regardless, it'll be more known in just a few months, haha.

Ricky

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Thanks for the details Ricky. Wow, I am really excited!

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Jeff, the Carnegie Hall concert from February 1947 with Louis and Edmond Hall's sextet has been issued, usually as "1947 Carnegie Hall Concert" (we sell a copy of it on the Ambassador label) so perhaps that's what you're thinking of. Jos Willems's "All of Me" discography lists no known issues. Again, I had a copy and leaked a few tracks over the years on my blog...perhaps someone scooped the audio up and passed something around, but the concert is more or less unknown. Regardless, it'll be more known in just a few months, haha.

Ricky

You're right, of course - I was thinking of the February concert, probably because I didn't know about the other one.

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Chuck, thanks for telling us about this exciting release. If you don't mind my asking, is there any monetary compensation involved for writing the liner notes and co-producing such a set? I hope so.

With you involved, I know that the liner notes will be excellent and the entire project will be very worthwhile.

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Actually, Chuck was posting from Ricky Ricardi's blog, it's Ricky doing the work.

Here's a cool photo from Ricky's blog:

post-83-0-83194900-1369324922_thumb.jpg

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Yep, it's me, not Chuck (though Chuck's great!). And yes, there is compensation, I'm happy to report. Also, the link above is to my Facebook page, which is where I broke the news last night. My blog can be found at www.dippermouth.blogspot.com and will be celebrating its sixth anniversary in July. Hope this helps!

Ricky

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I'm trying very hard to scale back my purchases, but this looks like something I will spring for, once I figure out exactly what is going on with Mosaic and the new shipping rates to Canada.

(I actually have a few Mosaic sets I am saving up for, but I can't recall if it is better to get them in one go and sometimes separately. It's probably different with the new postal rates anyway.)

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Ricky, many, many thanks for the rundown. Doesn't look like there will be too much overlap with the Ambassador material, which would be just fine by me. Having the great Town Hall Concert in print again will be very cool, especially for Teagarden fans (like me) who regard that version of "St. James Infirmery" as one of (if not THE) greatest performances of his magnificent career. Of course, I have it elsewhere, but I'll be interested to see what happens with the sound. At any rate, I'm very excited about the set!

gregmo

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Part of some concert on Decca was among the first jazz I ever heard, from an EP in my brother's collection, whose wife-to-be worked in a local record store at the time. This one could bring back memories ...

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