Jubilee – Armed Forces Radio – May 24, 1943 – Louis Armstrong, Theresa Harris, Red Callender, Sonny Woods – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Jumping into some wartime Big Band this weekend with a broadcast via Armed Forces Radio of the legendary Jubilee program from 1943. This one featuring the inimitable Louis Armstrong with guests Theresa Harris, Red Callender and Sonny Woods, broadcast on May 24, 1943.
I suppose if there was something positive to say about World War 2 it would be the immense effort at morale building on the parts of the Allies which came in the form of a flood of music, all across the social spectrum and most all of it preserved. Prior to this, music programs were plentiful, but not meticulously kept or preserved as they inadvertently became with World War 2. The advent of the Armed Forces Radio Service and the innovative way of pressing rebroadcasts of many network programs on to vinyl and shipping them to outposts all over the fighting fronts made it possible for multiple copies of a broadcast to be made (anywhere from 20 to 100 or more) and kept. And even though many were destroyed or suffered the fates of “downsizing and clutter removal” over the years, a majority of these broadcasts have survived and have become invaluable documents for historic study and assessment for decades since.
The interesting aspect of a program like Jubilee was the pairing of artists on one program, many of whom never recorded commercially together or were only heard via broadcasts – it was also a way of capturing artists on the rise, many of whom would be pivotal in musical movements later on. It was also, if anything, a capture of historic moments we may not have had the privilege of hearing any other way, and certainly did much to break through racial barriers which network radio imposed during that time.
But the important thing is the music, and even though Louis Armstrong became a household name early on, several of the artists he performed with on this broadcast aren’t – so here’s a chance to hear something you may have missed or were never familiar with in the first place.
Definitely history you can dance to.