In 1955, Louis Armstrong, along with vocalist Velma Middleton, got into the studio to pay tribute to the late Fats Waller. All the standards are here: “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Squeeze Me,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,” rendered in fine and mellow but gently, genially swinging fashion. Armstrong’s trumpet is superb and his voice carries the good-time spirit of Waller’s music.
Though criticized for his showmanship by a handful of New Orleans jazz purists, there is no denying the still vital potency of Armstrong’s trumpet playing here, however less daring it may appear in comparison with his groundbreaking work decades before. Although his singing has always been regarded as a paragon of emotive expressiveness, hearing him address this talent on such superior material as Waller’s is a special treat. In concert, Louis would customarily feature his sidemen on showcases of their own, but that is not the case here; the special nature of the album’s theme required Armstrong’s dominating presence throughout.
2. Blue Turning Grey Over You
3. I’m Crazy “Bout My Baby
4. Squeeze Me
5. Keepin’ Out of Mischief
6. All That Meat and No Potatoes
7. I’ve got a feeling I’m Falling
8. Black and Blue
9. Ain’t Misbehavin’