Verve Records To Release ‘Louis in London,’ The Last Great Performance From Louis Armstrong

Verve Records is proud to announce LOUIS IN LONDON, the last great performance by the most influential American musician of all time, Louis Armstrong. Recorded live at the BBC on July 2, 1968 – just weeks after the groundbreaking GRAMMY Award-winning artist hit the #1 spot on the UK charts with “What A Wonderful World” – the 13-track collection will be released on standard black and exclusive blue vinyl, CD, and digital, accompanied by extensive liner notes by Armstrong’s biographer and Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Ricky Riccardi, on Friday, July 12.

From redefining jazz with his revolutionary trumpet playing to singlehandedly inventing popular singing, Louis Armstrong made a greater impact on American popular music than any other single artist before or since. In July 1968, Armstrong and his renowned band, The All-Stars, travelled to England and entered the BBC’s London studios to record a performance, full of vitality and joy, that manifested some of the most inspired singing and trumpet playing of his remarkable career.

Captured in high fidelity audio and video, LOUIS IN LONDON presents Armstrong delivering everything from the first composition he’s known to have played in public – W.C. Handy’s “Ole Miss” – to the chart-topping “What A Wonderful World” and classic versions of such worldwide hits as “Mack The Knife” and “Hello, Dolly!,” the latter of which premieres today alongside a high definition official performance video streaming now at YouTube.

First broadcast on September 22, 1968 as BBC TV’s “Show Of The Week – Louis Armstrong,” the session poignantly proved to be Armstrong’s last great performance. From the moment Armstrong received a copy of the 1968 London recording, he became determined for the world to hear this music, affixing a note to the outside of the tape box on which he wrote, “For The Fans.” Armstrong sent copies of the BBC concert to friends and played them whenever he received visitors. Though he could have chosen any number of remarkable recordings, including his iconic collaborations with Ella Fitzgerald, he instead returned again and again to the BBC session from the summer of 1968. Now, more than five decades since his passing, LOUIS IN LONDON will at long last be officially shared with the world.

“Knowing how badly he wanted his friends and fans to hear this music while he was still alive,” writes Ricky Riccardi in the album’s exclusive liner notes, “it’s a great source of pride to know that it will now be enjoyed by new generations, including many fans who weren’t even alive at the time Armstrong passed, but who are still inspired by his music and his joy.

“Armstrong once claimed he was here ‘in the cause of happiness.’ All these decades later, albums like LOUIS IN LONDON continue his life’s mission at a time when we still need to be reminded that maybe it still is a wonderful world and maybe we’ll never walk alone after all.”

Release Date: Friday, July 12
When It’s Sleepy Time Down South
(Back Home Again) In Indiana
A Kiss To Build a Dream On
Hello, Dolly!
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Ole Miss
Blueberry Hill
Mack The Knife
Rockin’ Chair
The Bare Necessities
What a Wonderful World
When The Saints Go Marching In

Louis Armstrong: trumpet, vocals

The All Stars:
Tyree Glenn: trombone | Joe Muranyi: clarinet
Marty Napoleon: piano | Buddy Catlett: bass
Danny Barcelona: drums