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Rare Louis Armstrong Recordings Due from Jazz Heritage Society

Fans of trumpet legend Louis Armstrong can hear never-before-released recordings with a new two-disc CD release from the Jazz Heritage Society.

Created and authorized by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the set includes more than one hour’s worth of radio broadcasts of Armstrong while he was the guest host of Rudy Vallee’s Fleishmann’s Yeast Hour on the first disc. The second disc includes more than an hour of excerpts of Armstrong’s personal recordings.

The radio broadcast recordings are from 1937-18 acetate discs were found in the Armstrong archives, then carefully remastered by audio engineer and jazz historian Doug Pomeroy.

Recordings on the second disc are from Armstrong’s personal tape collection. As a hobby, Armstrong kept a Tandberg tape deck and would record onto reel-to-reel tape when with friends, his wife, other musicians or when he was practicing in his home.

Deslyn Dyer, assistant director of the Louis Armstrong House, described the second disc as an “audio diary.”

“He was in the habit of pressing ‘Record’ at any moment of the day,” she said. “When visitors would come over, chatting with his with Lucille, practicing his trumpet. He recorded personal, private home moments.”

Included in the disc are tracks of Armstrong reminiscing about the early decades of his career, as well as a cappella versions of Armstrong singing through “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” and “Blueberry Hill.”

“He realized how valuable this was; he could leave a piece of himself behind for others to appreciate,” she said. “You often get the sense that he’s definitely recording for the future; you hear him describing the color of the record or what he’s about to put on.”

A total of 650 of Armstrong’s personal recordings are in the archives.

“Visitors can come to the archives and hear hundreds of hours of these recordings,” Dyer said.

At the Louis Armstrong House Museum, located in Queens, N.Y., visitors can see the hand-decorated tape boxes that stored the recordings. The boxes, Dyer says, are collages made by Armstrong himself.

Included with the CD set are liner notes from jazz historian Dan Morgenstern, as well as photos from the Louis Armstrong House Museum collection. The set is available for purchase at JazzStore.com and via membership with Jazz Heritage Society at Jazz Heritage Society.org. It will be available on iTunes for digital download on Aug. 12.

Originally Published