Mack The Knife (1962)

Traditional, Porter, Betti, Louiguy, Frantzen, Rene, ROSE, Weill, Kalmar, Hanley

Louis Armstrong

This is a unique album containing live performances of many of Louis Armstrong’s most popular hits such as Mack the Knife, Blueberry Hill, C’est si Bon, La Vie en Rose, Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On and many more.

Louis Armstrong was a man who liked to please the folks and he saw no compromise in pleasing them with his highly individualistic singing, and his incomparable trumpet playing.  He was a natural entertainer, by gift and by inclination.  This album is truly representative of the man, as it presents all facets of his talent.

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Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 4, 1901. He was raised by his mother Mayann in a neighborhood so dangerous it was called “The Battlefield.” He only had a fifth-grade education, dropping out of school early to go to work. An early job working for the Jewish Karnofsky family allowed Armstrong to make enough money to purchase his first cornet.

On New Year’s Eve 1912, he was arrested and sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys. There, under the tutelage of Peter Davis, he learned how to properly play the cornet, eventually becoming the leader of the Waif’s Home Brass Band. Released from the Waif’s Home in 1914, Armstrong set his sights on becoming a professional musician. Mentored by the city’s top cornetist, Joe “King” Oliver, Armstrong soon became one of the most in-demand cornetists in town, eventually working steadily on Mississippi riverboats.

In 1922, King Oliver sent for Armstrong to join his band in Chicago. Armstrong and Oliver became the talk of the town with their intricate two-cornet breaks and started making records together in 1923. By that point, Armstrong began dating the pianist in the band, Lillian Hardin. In 1924, Armstrong married Hardin, who urged Armstrong to leave Oliver and try to make it on his own. A year in New York with Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra proved unsatisfying so Armstrong returned to Chicago in 1925 and began making records under his own name for the first time.

The records by Louis Armstrong and His Five–and later, Hot Seven–are the most influential in jazz. Armstrong’s improvised solos transformed jazz from an ensemble-based music into a soloist’s art, while his expressive vocals incorporated innovative bursts of scat singing and an underlying swing feel. By the end of the decade, the popularity of the Hot Fives and Sevens was enough to send Armstrong back to New York, where he appeared in the popular Broadway revue, “Hot Chocolates.” He soon began touring and never really stopped until his death in 1971.

The 1930s also found Armstrong achieving great popularity on radio, in films, and with his recordings. He performed in Europe for the first time in 1932 and returned in 1933, staying for over a year because of a damaged lip. Back in America in 1935, Armstrong hired Joe Glaser as his manager and began fronting a big band, recording pop songs for Decca, and appearing regularly in movies. He began touring the country in the 1940s.

In 1947, the waning popularity of the big bands forced Armstrong to begin fronting a small group, Louis Armstrong and His All Stars. Personnel changed over the years but this remained Armstrong’s main performing vehicle for the rest of his career. He had a string of pop hits beginning in 1949 and started making regular overseas tours, where his popularity was so great, he was dubbed “Ambassador Satch.”

In America, Armstrong had been a great Civil Rights pioneer for his race, breaking down numerous barriers as a young man. In the 1950s, he was sometimes criticized for his onstage persona and called an “Uncle Tom” but he silenced critics by speaking out against the government’s handling of the “Little Rock Nine” high school integration crisis in 1957.

Armstrong continued touring the world and making records with songs like “Blueberry Hill” (1949), “Mack the Knife” (1955) and “Hello, Dolly! (1964),” the latter knocking the Beatles off the top of the pop charts at the height of Beatlemania.

The many years of constant touring eventually wore down Armstrong, who had his first heart attack in 1959 and returned to intensive care at Beth Israel Hospital for heart and kidney trouble in 1968. Doctors advised him not to play but Armstrong continued to practice every day in his Corona, Queens home, where he had lived with his fourth wife, Lucille, since 1943. He returned to performing in 1970 but it was too much, too soon and he passed away in his sleep on July 6, 1971, a few months after his final engagement at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. 

photo: from cover 'Mack The Knife'

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Mack The Knife (1962)

Traditional, Porter, Betti, Louiguy, Frantzen, Rene, ROSE, Weill, Kalmar, Hanley

Louis Armstrong

Analog Recording Equipment: Nagra-T
Digital Converters: Merging Technologies Horus
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer:

René LaFlamme, Transfer from Analog Master Tape to DSD 256 

Notes:

For the recordings on this album, the original 1⁄4” 15 ips NAB master tapes were played on a Nagra-T tape recorder, modified with high-end tube playback elec- tronics, wired from the playback head directly to a Telefunken EF806 tube, using OCC silver cable. The Nagra T, with its four direct drive motors, two pinch rollers and a tape tension head, has one of the best transports ever made. A custom- built carbon fiber head block and a head damping electronic system permit 2xHD FUSION to obtain a better resolution and 3D imaging.

The resulting signal is then transformed into high resolution formats by recording it in DSD11.2kHz using a Merging Technologies’ Horus A to D converter. All analog and digital cables that are used are state of the art. The 2xHD FUSION mastering system is powered by a super capacitor power supply, using a new technology that lowers the digital noise found in the lowest level of the spectrum. A vacuum tube NAGRA HDdac (DSD) is used as a reference digital playback converter in order to A and B with the original analog master tape, permitting the fusion of the warmth of analog with the refinement of digital.

2xHD was created by producer/studio owner André Perry and audiophile sound engineer René Laflamme.

Recording location: Recorded Live in Chicago on August 1, 1962
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog

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2XHDST1084: Mack The Knife
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Tracks.
1.
When It's Sleepy Time Down South
Rene
00:02:44   N/A
2.
(Back Home Again In) Indiana
Hanley
00:04:33   N/A
3.
Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On
Kalmar
00:05:20   N/A
4.
My Bucket's Got a Hole in It
Traditional
00:02:54   N/A
5.
Mack the Knife
Weill
00:03:23   N/A
6.
Blueberry Hill
ROSE
00:03:27   N/A
7.
When the Saints Go Marching In
Traditional
00:03:49   N/A
8.
Ole Miss
Traditional
00:04:06   N/A
9.
High Society Calypso
Porter
00:03:12   N/A
10.
C'est si bon
Betti
00:03:32   N/A
11.
La vie en rose
Louiguy
00:04:53   N/A
12.
The Faithful Hussar
Frantzen
00:05:03   N/A

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