Title: Town Hall Concert Plus
Label: Pure Pleasure
Ahhh Louis…Louis! A brilliant live excerpt from 1947, this was an important release in terms of Louis Armstrong’s career. The man had been wandering the country with his large orchestra for some time and this document tells you what was happening at that time. It’s also the beginning of a change because he would soon change the format to a small All Stars arrangement, decreasing the group size from around 18 to six.
This release is not to be confused with other releases that provide a ‘complete’ version of the concert. Jazz Tribune offered one such release in 1983, for example. This one takes six tracks from that date but – and here’s where the ‘Plus’ comes in – also gives you six other tracks from that period covering various line ups and recorded from locations as distantly diverse as Los Angeles to New York. This LP variant was originally released in 1957 on RCA Victor
Tracks include Pennies From Heaven, Someday You’ll Be Sorry, SNAFU, a great version of Ain’t Misbehavin and a very chatty variant of Rockin’ Chair which features Louis Armstrong and the attractively smooth tones of Jack Teagarden plus lots of banter between the two. A fun and frolics-type of approach.
As for the mastering quality? Don’t expect much at all. The live tracks are, by their very nature, no where near audiophile in quality. What you’re looking for here is a quality that’s ‘good enough’ which it is and a master that manages to transfer the energy of the band with the glow from the audience. Yep, check.
The other tracks are mono studio affairs and are ‘reasonable’ in technical terms. Again though, these track are all about ‘feel’ and passion and there’s plenty to go around.