I already wrote a review about the Universal Ambassador Armstrong box. I'd apply the same opinion to this set.
If you're a serious Armstrong fan, then you already possess 60 per cent of the materials included on this box. All of those were previously issued on separate CDs by Storyville. Even the "bonus" DVD is filled with footage already on a Storyville DVD.
They even come to the extreme of putting on one of the CDs a Scandinavian broadcast which they issued on the LOUIS IN SCANDINAVIA box not yet two years ago!! (and with that box they also did wrong, as they first sold separately the first three volumes and finally sold the fourth only on the box set, so you were forced to by the box with three volumes you already had in order to get the last one). And here they repeat a broadcast from that set once again!
There are, however, nearly three CDs of new material.
NOW I'LL COMENT THE CONTENTS FOLLOWING THE COMMENTARY TAKEN FROM THE BLOG OF RICKY RICCARDI, WHO WROTE THE BOOKLET:
*Louis leading an all star aggregation (not yet The All Stars) at the Winter Garden in June 1947, right after his triumph at Town Hall. ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION.
*A broadcast featuring the All Stars at the BLue Note in Chicago in December 1948 ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION.
*An entire disc of the Armstrong-Teagarden-Hines-Catlett All Stars at the Hollywood Empire in 1949 ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION.
*A broadcast from the Club Hangover in San Francisco in 1954 featuring the edition of the group with Kenny John and Milt Hinton ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION.
*An ultra rare broadcast from American Legion Park in Ephrata, PA--the middle of nowhere--in August 1954. THIS IS 20 MINUTES LONG BUT PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED
*The Trummy Young-Barney Bigard-Billy Kyle-Arvell Shaw--Barrett Deems All Stars playing New Year's Eve 1955 in San Francisco. ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION.
*The Young-Edmond Hall-Kyle-Deems band doing an impromptu performance after being honored at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1955. THIS IS ALREADY ON THE STORYVILLE "LOUIS IN SCANDINAVIA" BOX SET.
*The same group of Al Stars--my favorite edition--at Basin Street in New York in 1956 ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION.
*The soundtrack of Louis's 1962 Goodyear Jazz Concert film ALREADY ON A STORYVILLE CD. WATCH ON YOUR COLLECTION. THIS WAS ALSO ISSUED BY STORYVILLE ON DVD.
*A nearly complete performance from Nice, France on May 17, 1962, the great majority of it unissued and featuring Louis playing "Jazz Me Blues," a highlight of this period THIS IS A LONG AND MOSTLY UNISSUED CONCERT, BUT THE SOUND QUALITY IS TERRIBLE AND MANY SONGS ARE INCOMPLETE.
*An All Stars concert from Chicago in 1962 THIS WAS PRESENTED MANY MANY MANY MANY TIMES BY STORYVILLE, JAZZ HOUR AND VARIOUS OTHER LABELS. SOME TRACKS ARE HERE THAT ARE NOT ON STORYVILLE'S OWN SEPARATE 1CD ISSUE, AND VICEVERSA... WHY NOT PUTTING THE WHOLE SHOW COMPLETE FOR ONCE!!!!
*An unissued concert featuring the final edition of the All Stars in Copenhagen on July 25, 1967. AGAIN, SOME MUSIC FROM THIS WAS INCLUDED ON VOLUME 4 OF "LOUIS IN SCANDINAVIA". MOST MUSIC, HOWEVER, APPEARS HERE OFR THE FIRST TIME. HOWEVER, LOUIS IS NOT IN HIS BEST FORM HERE, AND HE DOESN'T EVEN PLAY ON MOST OF THE TRACKS, WHERE THE OTHER ALL STARS ARE FEATURED AND ALSO SINGER JEWELL BROWN.
All in all, two things:
1) Not an essential release, unless you are a hardcore Louis' fan (then, you'll want to listen to everything). But if you are a hardcore collector, then you'll also already have most of the music here. Meaning, not only most, but also the most important music here, for the unissued 1962 material has terrible sound quality, and the 1967 Copenhagen set is far from essential listening.
2) Storyville, a label dedicated to collectors, should respect their public more and issue rare or unissued material separatedly, and in a more rational way. And then reissue or repackage their old CDs as they like for the newcomers. The way they are doing it now is disrespecful.