In 1933, Louis Armstrong embarked to great fanfare on a tour of Europe, something which many of his contemporaries, including Duke Ellington, the Boswell Sisters, and the Mills Brothers were doing around the same time. Things were not all fine and dandy for Armstrong in Europe however, as he was plagued a lip ailment that caused him pain, and a manager who took his money back to the States after being fired. Nonetheless, Louis doesn’t let his troubles show in his work. After finishing his tour, Louis remained in Europe until 1935.
On this Polydor record, recorded November 7, 1934 in Paris, France, not too long before his return to the States, Louis is joined by the distinguished pianist Herman Chittison, as well as Jack Hamilton and Leslie Thompson on second and third trumpets, Lionel Guimaraes on trombone, Peter duCongé on clarinet and alto sax, Henry Tyree on alto sax, Alfred Pratt on tenor sax, Maceo Jefferson on guitar, German Arago on the bass, and Oliver Tines drumming. Maceo Jefferson was one of a very few American jazz musicians to be interned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
On “Tiger Rag” (billed some places as “Super Tiger Rag”), the band plays hot, and Chittison delivers an Art Tatum-esque piano solo. Towards the end, the band recreates Louis’ performance from his filmed performance in Copenhagen the previous year.
On “St. Louis Blues” (billed here as “Saint-Louis Blues”), Louis gives a classic performance, and introduces some fine solos on piano by Herman Chittison and tenor sax by Alfred Pratt.
Updated on July 4, 2016.