11.39 In Stock
Among other things the contemporaries Bing Crosby (born: 1903) and Louis Armstrong (born: 1901) shared was a maverick position vis-à-vis the record industry in the latter parts of their careers. After the end of Armstrong's long-term contract with Decca Records, his manager, Joe Glaser, declined to have him sign another exclusive deal and instead offered him on a one-off basis to any record label that wanted him to record an individual project, as if record dates were like gigs. Crosby, perhaps taking note of this, also declined another long-term contract after he left Decca some years later; instead, he put together his own recording projects and offered them under license to record labels. Both singers were well enough established to make these highly unusual approaches work. In 1960, one of the projects Crosby came up with was a duo LP of himself and Armstrong, Bing & Satchmo. He paid Glaser his fee, cut the album with Armstrong, and licensed it to MGM Records. It later went out of print with ownership retained by Bing Crosby Enterprises, which has subsequently re-licensed it several times, lately to DRG Records. Meanwhile, the 50-year copyright limit on recordings in Europe caused the album to enter the public domain there as of 2011, leading to several unlicensed versions, of which the Essential Jazz Classics disc is one. The reissue label has expanded on the original 12 tracks of the LP to add 11 other Crosby/Armstrong numbers from earlier in their careers, journeying in roughly reverse chronological order to the film High Society, Crosby's TV and radio shows, the film Pennies from Heaven, and a special 1939 birthday greeting from Armstrong to Crosby. The original LP, with charts by Billy May and special lyrics by Johnny Mercer, is a polished affair, but things get more spontaneous on the bonus tracks, as Armstrong's humor and Crosby's appreciation for it come through. This CD may be considered something more like "the complete Crosby and Armstrong" than just an unauthorized reissue of the 1960 LP.