Labor Day #1: Struttin’

This is Labor Day weekend or, if you prefer the Canadian spelling, Labour Day weekend. Monday will see labor-dayofficial observance of the day established in Canada in 1872 and the US in 1887 to honor the economic and social contributions of working people. It long ago expanded to a three-day holiday weekend that marks the unofficial end of LD_sale_HPsummer, the return of children to school and huge sales at department stores, automobile dealerships and sellers of electronics. Millions of Americans celebrate Labor Day by grilling and consuming pieces of meat marinated in or covered with barbecue sauce.

So, what could be more appropriate than to honor the laboring classes with two versions of Lil Hardin Armstrong’s classic composition. The first, from 1927 is by the man she was married to at the time and his Hot Five. The second, cooler, with the title and the beat altered, was recorded 41 years later.

Louis Armstrong (tp); Kid Ory (tb); Johnny Dodds (cl); Lil Armstrong (p); Johnny St. Cyr (bj). November 9, 1927.

Paul Desmond, alto saxophone; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Airto Moreira, drums; Joe Beck, guitar; Wayne Andre, Paul Faulise, Bill Watrous, Kai Winding, trombone; John Eckert, Joe Shepley, Marvin Stamm, trumpet; Ray Alonge, Tony Miranda, French horn; Don Sebesky, arranger. November 20, 1968.

Tomorrow: A rather different piece of Labor Day music .

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  1. dick vartanian says

    Thanks for that one by Louis. It’s a long time favorite of mine. Everything of PD is.

  2. David says

    Wow, that sounds like it was written as a samba. In fact, the opening is almost identical to Bonfa’s “Samba de Orfeo.” This tune was a favorite of Lee Konitz who recorded it frequently, always incorporating Armstrong’s solo. Here’s a version with trombonist Marshal Brown:

    • says

      The version of “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue” that David links to is from this Konitz album of duets with Brown, Karl Berger, Eddie Gomez, Jim Hall, Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Richie Kamuca, Dick Katz and Ray Nance. I don’t know whether it was on the list back in the days when Stereo Review listed Basic Repertoire items, but it should have been. It’s been on my list for 35 years or more, and it’s as fresh as yesterday afternoon.

  3. Garret Gannuch says

    Have always loved the Louis, but totally forgot about the Desmond with Hancock,, Carter, and Moreira. I’ll have to dig out my copy! Great post.