Louis Armstrong – Esquire Jazz Concert 1944 (Full Album)

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Louis Armstrong and friends – Esquire Jazz Concert (1944) – Full Show.

The first Esquire All-Star Concert, which took place in 1944, has been well documented on various discs, generally in bits and pieces, but this CD has more of the music than most issues. Originally recorded on transcription discs for distribution by various Armed Forces Radio programs, including One Night Stand, Jubilee, and Swing Session, the music is sometimes briefly intruded upon by an announcer who felt obligated to identify a soloist in the middle of a song. But this is a rare opportunity to hear many jazz masters of the 1940s in a jam session atmosphere, including Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, and Red Norvo, to name a few. But the true star of the evening is the phenomenal pianist Art Tatum, who proves himself as a more than competent pianist in a group setting, something he was always accused of not being able to do. The highlight of the 21 selections on this Italian CD is easily the intense eight-minute workout of “I Got Rhythm,” with potent solos by Tatum, Eldridge, Hawkins, and clarinetist Barney Bigard. The sound quality isn’t bad for a vintage 1940s broadcast, though the rhythm section isn’t always clearly audible. Unfortunately, the spelling of names and song titles is a bit sloppy, the music is out of sequence (unlike most reissues), and the concert took place on January 18, 1944, not January 13 as listed. This memorable concert should be part of any serious jazz collection.


– Esquire Blues
– Mop Mop
– Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
– I Love My Man
– I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
– I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
– Sweet Lorraine
– I Got The Rhythm
– The Blues
– We All Drink “Coca Cola”
– Esquire Bounce
– Rockin’ Chair
– Basin Street Blues
– I’ll Get By
– Tea For Two
– Back O’Town Blues
– Muskrat Ramble
– Buck Jumpin’
– Stompin At The Savoy
– For Bass Faces Only
– My Ideal
– Rose Room
– I’ve Got A Feeling I’m Falling
– More Than You Know
– Squeeze Me
– Honeysuckle Rose
– Flying Home
– Jammin’ The Vibes
– Star Spangled Banner


Oscar Pettiford – bass
Barney Bigard – clarinet
Sidney Catlett – drums
Al Casey – guitar
Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson – piano
Coleman Hawkins – tenor saxophone
Roy Eldridge – trumpet
Lionel Hampton – vibraphone
Billie Holiday, Mildred Bailey – vocals
Jack Teagarden – vocals, trombone
Louis Armstrong – vocals, trumpet
Red Norvo – xylophone


Metropolitan Opera House

N.Y. C, January 13, 1944