Louis Armstrong was the acknowledged King of Jazz when he laid down the track Christmas Night in Harlem with Benny Carter and his Orchestra for the Verve label. He had been practically present since the birth of jazz as a young cornet player in New Orleans and had come North to Chicago to play with the King Oliver Band at Al Capone speakeasies in the ‘20s then switched to trumpet to play with Fletcher Henderson. He fronted his own combos and even a Big Band for a while in the 30’s, became a radio star performing with pals like Bing Crosby and in the post-World War II era led the Esquire Jazz All-Stars at annual Carnegie Hall concerts. In 1953 he was at the peak of his form.
Other noted holiday tracks laid down by Satchmo included Benny Carter’s swinging orchestra on Christmas in New Orleans. ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? with the studio all-star ensemble The Commanders is a hoot and Armstrong also blew some exuberant trumpet on Cool Yule by Steve Allen.