This is Labor Day weekend or, if you prefer the Canadian spelling, Labour Day weekend. Monday will see official 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 summer, 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 .