‘Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson’: A Musical Kinship

Louis Armstrong is at his best on a group of solid standards, while Oscar Peterson provides fresh tasteful backing.

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In the second half of 1957, Louis Armstrong was a busy man. On 23 July he had sessions for the album that became, Ella and Louis Again and on 1 August there was a session for an album to be called Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson, this was followed two weeks later by another Ella and Louis Again session, before three days of work on two albums that were to be called Louis Under The Stars and I’ve Got The World On A String on 14, 15 and 16 August.

If all this wasn’t enough Louis then spent 18 and 19 August recording Porgy and Bess with Ella. It was a massive undertaking for any artist at any time in their career, but Louis was 56 years old, there was also the premiere of Satchmo the Great took place on 5 September in New York City.

Listen to Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson right now.

On 14 October Louis recorded ‘Crab Man’ with Russ Garcia’s Orchestra for the Porgy and Bess album. Later in the day, he worked with Oscar Peterson and his trio, Herb Ellis (guitar) Ray Brown (bass) and Louis Bellson (drums). They recorded a dozen tracks that became Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson, released shortly before Christmas 1959, two years after it was recorded.

Billboard said at the time, “Here’s an interesting combination with solid commercial possibilities. Armstrong is at his best on a group of solid standards, while Peterson provides fresh tasteful backing.”

When the CD was issued the four tracks recorded at the August session were added. The four tracks were unearthed in the Verve vaults a few years ago and the complete session was added to streaming services. None of these songs, except ‘Indiana’ Satchmo’s warm up routine are numbers that Armstrong performed live with his All Stars. He was going into the studio ‘cold’ and practicing them with OP and the other guys to get them right for recording.

A Day With Satchmo includes the final master takes, along with a few takes that have appeared on limited edition box sets and rare releases, but it also features music that has never appeared anywhere before.

Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson can be bought here.

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    January 6, 2019 at 3:45 pm


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