Traditional jazz: “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans” (two versions) and “C’est Si Bon” (two versions)

in Musiclast month (edited)

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (in a movie)

Billie Holiday (vocals), Louis Armstrong (cornet), Barney Biggard (clarinet), Kid Ory (trombone), Charlie Beal (piano), Bud Scott (guitar), Red Callender (double bass) and Zutty Singleton (drums). Sequence from the movie New Orleans (1947).

In 1943 Louis Armstrong participated in the musical film Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli based on the 1940 Broadway musical of the same name with an all-black cast. During World War II he played for the troops over the Armed Forces Radio Service and recorded on “V-Discs” distributed to military personnel. In 1947 he recorded with his big band the soundtrack of the musical romance movie New Orleans with Billie Holiday as a singing maid and himself as a bandleader portraying a couple falling in love.

Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong in the film New Orleans.

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In the 1940s big bands went into decline due to changing public tastes. Many dance halls closed down and with the rise of bebop, rhythm and blues and television, swing was no longer in fashion. Thus, Armstrong was unable to continue maintaining his 16-piece orchestra. However, a revival of the traditional jazz of the 1920s made it possible for him to return to the small-group musical style of his youth. He called his new ensemble “Louis Armstrong and his All Stars”, gathered Barney Bigard on clarinet, Jack Teagarden on trombone, Earl Hines on piano, Arvell Shaw on double bass and Big Sid Catlett on drums, and opened in August 1947 at the Billy Berg’s club in Los Angeles. Throughout its existence, the band included singer Velma Middleton, clarinetists Joe Muranyi, Eddie Shu, Joe Darensbourg and Edmond Hall, trombonists Tyree Glenn and Trummy Young, pianists Marty Napoleon and Billy Kyle, double bassists Mort Herbert and Arvell Shaw, and drummers Danny Barcelona, Barrett Deems, Cozy Cole, and Sid Catlett.

Louis Armstrong and his All Stars

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In 1948 Armstrong embarked on an European tour and thereafter toured regularly around the world. While in France he played with his All Stars in the first jazz festival of international significance, held in Nice, where he heard vocalist, dancer and actress Suzy Delair sing “C’est Si Bon”. He liked the song so much that two years later he recorded his own English version with lyrics by Jerry Seelen in New York backed up by Sy Oliver and his Orchestra; please, find it below. When it was released became a worldwide success and from then on was performed by the best singers.

“C’est Si Bon” cover

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Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (live)

From “The Great Chicago Concert” (1956).

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C’est Si Bon (original version)

Louis Armstrong with Sy Oliver and his Orchestra: Sy Oliver (conductor, arranger), Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocal), Milt Yaner (clarinet, alto saxophone), George Dorsey (alto saxophone); Freddy Williams and Al Klink (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Cutty Cutshall (trombone), Billy Kyle (piano), Sandy Block (double bass) and Bunny Shawker (drums) (1950).

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C’est Si Bon (on television)

1962

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