From the Record Shelves #201

Memories of You

EMI Parlophone PMC 7098

Even if I often delve into more obscure things, I now and then have to play a Louis Armstrong record just to set things straight.

Like many other successful artists in the US, he and his managers could choose to take up residence or at least have a longer stint of engagements between New York and Los Angeles. Here we find him on the West Coast. It was a period in his career, around 1930, when he, besides holding his own as the world’s greatest trumpet player, also took his singing more seriously and became influential as well in this field. He probably also took inspiration from the emerging vocal success of Bing Crosby at the time.

And as we see on this LP, he had very good material to work with. Most of the numbers recorded can be considered evergreens, partly because of these great interpretations, and they are also among the earliest examples of what we have come to call ballads in jazz.

The band that he fronted in L.A. at The Sebastian Cotton Club had a sweet saxophone section, and this was to Armstrong’s liking. He often named Guy Lombardo’s Orchestra as his favorite one.

The musical standard was very high on the West Coast, and the combination led to a highlight in Louis Armstrong’s career. In the band was another musician who was to become a jazz great in the coming years, namely Lionel Hampton on drums and also on his more famous vibraphone in the introduction here.

The beautiful song was composed by Eubie Blake and published the same year, 1930.