Friday, August 6, 2010

Me Last: All of Me

Louis Armstrong: All of Me


All of Me was written in 1931, and since then, it has been recorded over 2000 times. Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Willie Nelson have all recorded the song with vocals, and some of the greatest names in jazz have done instrumental versions. So I think it’s safe to call the song a standard. I found two different recordings by Louis Armstrong, and there may have others. Armstrong came from New Orleans with a small group that was moving jazz from Dixieland to the next style. Soon enough, he was working with the big bands, and, as musical fashions changed, Armstrong would even record with a full orchestra, trying for a Sinatra approach. But this recording of All of Me presents Armstrong the way I love to hear him. It was the mid 50s, and the big band era was over. Be-bop would never have worked for Armstrong, but here he is working once again with a small group, and recalling the New Orleans sounds that first brought him to fame. Only here, the recording technology of the day makes it possible to hear everything much more clearly than on Armstrong‘s early recordings. This is a live recording from 1955, from a concert in Italy.

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