Hi Hans:

I am pretty sure that version of "St. James" is from the sessions that produced the Audio Fidelity 
album "Satchmo Plays King Oliver," recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood in September and October 
1959. Here's the reissue LP version:

Interesting, though! I'm comparing right now the YouTube clip to the album and guess what -- that 
YouTube clip is a different take from the album! The trombone and clarinet vamps are different and 
there's a little bit different delivery to Louis's vocals plus different trumpet solos. But, the 
sound is very close to the record so I'd say it's gotta be from the same session since Sid Fry's 
setup was unique, his "curtain of sound" M-S stereophonic setup (not hard-panned "stereo" as was 
typical of jazz recordings on those days). I wonder where this other take is floating around! The 
version that's on the Classic Records reissue linked above is the same as what's on my 1964 Audio 
Fidelity version of the album titled "The Best of Louis Armstrong" (Audio Fidelity AFSD 6132).  I 
don't think AF would have issued two versions of that same LP, and the Classic reissue claims to be 
of the first edition version (Audio Fidelity AFLP 1930). So the take in that YouTube clip must be 
floating around from somewhere else.

For what it's worth, I prefer the take that's on the LP. Louis's solo at the end is fantastic, and 
the clarinet picks up on what he's doing at one point and they both go over the top together. In my 
opinion, this was Louis Armstrong's last great jazz session. His next step was "Hello Dolly" and pop 
fame in his last years. He never again played trumpet in front of a recording mic as well as he did 
for the Audio Fidelity sessions. And the recording technique on that album is perfect for the 
ensemble playing that Louis's band was into. Everyone has to play his part but not one is 
artificially spotlighted. So they have to play as a unit, control their dynamics, know when to lay 
in and lay out, like real musicians playing in a believable sonic space. That was innovative in 
those days and, unfortunately, is still rare and innovative today!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Hans en Corrie" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, May 08, 2010 3:19 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] St. James Infirmary - Louis Armstrnog

> This month, 80 years ago, Ellington recorded St. James Infirmary for a Hit
> of the Week recording. I commemorated this fact in the latest
> I posted a great version of this song by
> Louis Armstrong - can someone inform me when this was recorded?
> Hans