Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson   And the Love Is Mutual

This agreeable set of standards sung by Louis Armstrong backed by the Oscar Peterson Quartet, then consisting of Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Louis Bellson recorded at the then new Capitol Studios, L.A. in 1957 but not released in stereo until 1959, was a follow-up of sorts to the highly successful Norman Granz-produced Ella & Louis (Verve MGV-4003) recorded August of 1956.

Like this set, Armstrong and Fitzgerald there were backed by the Oscar Peterson Quartet, but with Buddy Rich drumming instead of Louis Bellson.

The installation of stereo capabilities in between the two sessions permitted Capitol to record this session in stereo, though the stereo LP was a few years off.

Louis, then in his mid ‘50s, and the all-star backing band cover a dozen familiar tunes including “That Old Feeling” “Let’s Fall In Love” (in which Louis takes a solo an octave up from what’s expected), “Just One of Those Things”, and “What’s New”.

Armstrong does some trumpet soloing throughout but for the most part this is a “Pops” pop vocal showcase that presages by seven years Armstrong’s unlikely in the age of The Beatles #1 “Hello Dolly” monster hit.

Listening to Louis’s loose, swinging vocalizing one can easily imagine a 10 year old Tom Waits listening to this album and figuring out a Louis imitation that stuck.

The early stereo recording puts Peterson in the left channel, Ellis, Brown and Bellson in the right and Armstrong and his horn dead center unadorned by echo or any effects whatsoever. The mix lays back the accompaniment while spotlighting the vocalist-star who is “in your room” singing just to you. Unfortunately, Armstrong sings too close to the microphone and on a few vocal punctuations oversaturates the tape, which produces some genuinely nasty, though fleeting distortion (it’s not mistracking).

Despite engineer Val Valentin’s screw-up, Granz must have been a forgiving soul. Valentin became Verve’s Chief Engineer whose name appeared on many if not most Verve releases whether or not he engineered them including the electronically reprocessed albums labeled “Sounds Great in Stereo” (translation: probably would sound great in stereo, unfortunately this was a mono recording so we’ll ruin it with electronic games and not tell you about it, but you’ll hear it!).

However, it would be your loss if an occasional sonic blemish dissuades you from purchasing this buoyant, thoroughly enjoyable and otherwise well-recorded Armstrong set. Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson provides a guaranteed emotional pick-up in genuinely dreary times.

The sealed review copy was perfectly pressed at QRP and 100% silent, with the super-black backgrounds that QRP manages when all goes well in their presses.

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Intermediate Listener's picture

Looking forward to more in this series.

B_Phil's picture

Michael - I got this record along with the Getz/Gilberto and all three new Tone Poet releases yesterday. I opened this Armstrong/Peterson reissue first and was surprised by how flimsy/flexible the vinyl was. I played it and I agree with you that it had quite black backgrounds and it did sound good.

But I opened the rest of the records and they were all noticeably thicker. I.E. what I would expect for a record advertised at 180g.

So I weighed them all. The Tone Poet reissues were...Joe Henderson - 187g, B. Hutcherson - 189g, and J. McLean 193g. The Verve reissue for Getz/Gilberto was noticeably heavy and is 213g.

The Armstrong/Peterson is 156g. I am hoping you or anyone else might be able to confirm if your copy is in fact pressed on heavy weight vinyl? I am surprised to find a >25% variance in the weight of these two Acoustic Sound Series reissues released on the same day and now I am questioning if the quality of this series will be up to what I have experienced from Music Matters/Tone Poet.


rich d's picture

..."weight before cooking". Or perhaps they's using the breakfast cereal model in which contents may have settled during shipping.

Hope this helps!

ArcAudio's picture

I'd be curious what the standardized quality check process is at the pressing plant on vinyl weight. I'll weigh some of my albums and see what the variances are. I get that there will be some variances around 180G...but 25% is quite large for a special edition.

Rashers's picture

168g. By contrast the new Ambrose Akinmusire album, that arrived the same day, is 205g.
I hope this isn’t going to turn me into a neurotic record weighing nerd....oh well...

audiotom's picture

Aren’t these reisssues for those who missed these Analog Productions releases the first time?

Thoughts on the upcoming Coltrane lps?

The AP A Love Supreme 33 1/3 is still available

guildx500's picture

I have a Speakers Corner LP of this and while you can hear some overlaod on Armstrong's vocals it is not bad. I found the new Acoustic Sounds version not listenable because the distortion was so bad. Either they used a completely different tape or something went badly wrong in the mastering or the pressing of the LP I purchased, which I couldn't return quickly enough.

xtcfan80's picture

Maybe it’s like a bag of herb back in the 70s....,27-32 grams all were called an lid or ounce of weed... If the LP gets you high I’d forget about the weight....

timuroguz's picture

My copy of the AS reissue arrived today. The distortion is there and it’s a bit annoying I should say. I have a 1979 Japanese pressing also. It has some distortion but little.

39goose's picture

.......and then heard the tape saturation on the recording. This is a delightful record, musically and sonically. I'm keeping mine and am most grateful once again for Acoustic Sounds making gems like this available.
You Go Louis!! Saturate that tape..........................

Sickart's picture