April 1998

Louis Armstrong - Master of Jazz Vol. 1
Mobile Fidelity UDCD 710
Originally Released: 1984
Remastered Released: 1997

by Steven R. Rochlin

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on Gold CD]What fun would music be without good ol' Satchmo? Odds are, like you, I've bought quite a few compilation CDs with Louis Armstrong on them. Ya know what, almost all of them stink sound-wise to my ears over my system. Some sound like tin cans were used as microphones, while others are just so compressed dynamically and rolled off in the highs and/or boomy in the bass that the music is simply ruined. Leave it to the great folks at Mobile Fidelity to bring us an excellent live performance with the sound quality that I wish every historic recording had. Truly wonderful! Many of the great songs are here, like "When it's Sleepy Time Down South," "Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Mack the Knife," "When the Saints," "Blueberry Hill" and many more. There are 17 wonderful songs remastered in a way that even makes me cry at times. Aaaah, I can even hear some of the more subtle nuances in his voice too! As I listen to this CD, it's as though I'm at the live performance...even including Armstrong's joking around with the audience. Makes me wish I were older and could have attended this concert in person. Even most of my rare vinyl records don't quite come this close emotionally speaking. Sound-wise this CD seems to have more-realistic highs and an overall full-frequency rightness, whereas some of my vinyl has glorious midrange, yet the frequency extremes may be another story at times.

Look my friends, I won't say any more other than if you want more Satch' in your batch of music, this recording is a natch match with no catch in my opinion. Do you love jazz? Do you love great live historic recordings? Then what are you waiting for? Here's Louis in his prime with other great musicians. Are you still reading this? Why? Isn't the music store still open? Ya know, the one near-or is that in-the mall? You know the one. Stop reading this. STOP I SAY! Sheeesh, what's a woman to do? Enjoy the music!