Louis Armstrong forms six piece group called the All Stars
Following a highly successful small-group jazz concert at New York Town Hall on May 17, 1947, featuring Armstrong with trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden, Armstrong's manager Joe Glaser dissolved the Armstrong big band on August 13, 1947 and established a six-piece small group featuring Armstrong with (initially) Teagarden, Earl Hines and other top swing and dixieland musicians, most of them ex-big band leaders. The new group was announced at the opening of Billy Berg's Supper Club.
This group was called Louis Armstrong and his All Stars and included at various times Earl "Fatha" Hines, Barney Bigard, Edmond Hall, Jack Teagarden, Trummy Young, Arvell Shaw, Billy Kyle, Marty Napoleon, Big Sid Catlett, Cozy Cole, Tyree Glenn, Barrett Deems and the Filipino-American percussionist, Danny Barcelona. During this period, Armstrong made many recordings and appeared in over thirty films.
There is a critical perception that Louis Armstrong somehow abandoned his small-band roots when he moved away from the Hot 5 and 7 recordings of the 20's and recorded with the larger bands of the 30's. In reality, though, he had been playing with large units almost exclusively before and since his seminal records on OKeh. With the exception of a small number of hours recording those songs, he had spent the rest of the previous quarter century playing big band music.
In 1947, however, dogged by this undeserved collar and hounded by rising expenses for his touring band, he submitted to managerial pressure to unleash a small combo for a show at Town Hall in New York City; the concert was a howling success, leading the way for Louis to tour with the now-streamlined band he called his "All-Stars." With sporadic changes in personnel, this arrangement suited him for the rest of his performing career. In the studio, the All-Stars recorded scores of tunes, often re-recording the Hot classics from 25 years earlier, and re-rerecording them again when they changed labels.
Louis also frequently fronted elaborate orchestras with white-bread choruses, doing his best with the increasingly tepid pop material his manager provided him. Sometimes he was paired with other singers -- Ella Fitzgerald, Bing and Gary Crosby, and Louis Jordan -- to produce pleasant but forgettable platters. And occasionally, he could still mold a song -- "Mack the Knife" and "A Kiss to Build a Dream On", to name a few -- into an incomparable classic.
Professionally, it was a period of mushrooming excitement for Pops, who was now frequently releasing records and appearing on radio and in movies. In retrospect, however, it was a period of musical unfulfillment. Armstrong's manager, Joe Glaser, though a master at setting up successful concerts and tours, lacked the vision to showcase his number one artist in the light he deserved. Fortunately, others would soon give Louis Armstrong the latitude to lay down his most timeless tracks.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Armstrong maintained one of the most grueling continual tours of all time. He began playing with the large bands that were popular at the time, but soon realized that his style was better suited to a smaller ensemble. With the help of manager, Joe Glaser, he formed Louis Armstrong and His All Stars. The band, which had a rotating cast of "all stars," first included Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines, and Big Sid Catlett. Though many believed the 40s marked the beginning of a decline of Armstrong's playing, the recordings bear out his continued technical proficiency, spirited interpretations, and the depth and soul of his playing during these years.