Personnel: Louis Armstrong (vocals, trumpet, cornet); Louis Armstrong; Mancy Carr (vocals, banjo); Jack Teagarden (vocals, trombone); Ella Fitzgerald, Eva Taylor (vocals); Johnny St. Cyr (guitar, banjo); Allen Hanlon, Willard Suyker, Will Johnson, Lee Blair, Herb Ellis, Art Ryerson, Lonnie Johnson, Carl Kress (guitar); Ceele Burke (steel guitar); Eddie Condon, "Big" Mike McKendrick, Dave Wilborn, Buddy Christian , Bill Perkins, Charlie Dixon (banjo); Carroll Dickerson (violin); Sam Marowitz (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Jerome Richardson (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Daniel Trimboli (flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); George James (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Don Redman (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Lester Boone, Rupert Cole, Albert Nicholas, Buster Bailey, Charlie Holmes (clarinet, alto saxophone); Albert Washington, Jr., Charlie Jones , Jimmy Strong (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Edmond Hall, William Thornton Blue, Johnny Dodds, Peanuts Hucko, Barney Bigard (clarinet); Les Hite (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Bert Curry, Leon Herriford, Willie Stark, Crawford Wethington, Marvin Johnson, Hymie Schertzer, Milt Yaner (alto saxophone); Thomas Parshley, Art Drelinger, William Franz, Bingie Madison, Teddy Hill (tenor saxophone); Raymond Stanfeld (baritone saxophone); Clark Terry, Carl Poole, Elmer Chambers, George Orendorff, Homer Hobson, Otis Johnson, Henry "Red" Allen, Harold Scott, Leon Elkins, Joe "Fox" Smith , Joe Wilder, Yank Lawson, Zilner Randolph, Billy Butterfield (trumpet); Bobby Hackett (cornet); Lawrence D. Brown, Fred Robinson , John Thomas , J.C. Higginbotham, J.J. Johnson , Luther Graven, Urbie Green, Will Bradley, Trummy Young, Preston Jackson, Charlie Green, Charlie Irvis (trombone); Reggie Jones , Bob Escudero, Pete Briggs (tuba); Gene Anderson (piano, celesta); Clarence Williams, Henry Prince, Charlie Alexander , Dick Cary, Harvey Brooks , Hank Jones , Luis Russell, Oscar Peterson, Bernie Leighton, Billy Kyle (piano); Grady Tate, Joseph "Kaiser" Marshall, Louie Bellson, Paul Barbarin, Big Sid Catlett, Baby Dodds, Tubby Hall, Johnny Blowers (drums); Warren Hard (percussion); Earl Hines (vocals, piano, celesta); Sidney Bechet (soprano saxophone); Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone); Kid Ory (trombone); Fletcher Henderson, Lil Armstrong (piano); Lionel Hampton (vibraphone, drums); Barrett Deems, Zutty Singleton (drums).
Liner Note Author: Dan Morgenstern.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (05/29/1925-08/16/1967); Los Angeles, CA (05/29/1925-08/16/1967); New York, NY (05/29/1925-08/16/1967).
Photographers: Corbis Bettman; John Loengard; Corbis; John Minihan.
Arrangers: Don Redman; Alex "Charlie Brown" Hill ; Tommy Goodman.
While Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have "invented" jazz, it was Louis Armstrong who cultivated the form by bringing individual solos (versus group playing) to the forefront. Due to Armstrong, solo improvisation became one of the hallmarks of jazz. Given Armstrong's remarkable trumpet technique and undeniable charisma, it's no wonder that he is considered to be the greatest jazz legend of them all.
This Columbia Records two-disc collection documents Armstong's music from his early years as a member of Fletcher Henderson and Clarence Williams's bands to his swing period in the 1930s, when he fronted his own jazz orchestra. (The latter half of the second disc is dedicated to Armstrong's later recordings during the '40s, '50s, and '60s.) His elegant and highly influential trumpet cadenza on the opening of "West End Blues" is heard here, as well as his timeless rendition of "Heebie Jeebies," which is performed with his incredible Hot Five. THE ESSENTIAL LOUIS ARMSTRONG also presents many of his indelible vocal hits, including "Blueberry Hill," "Honeysuckle Rose," and, of course, the hugely popular "What a Wonderful World."