Knockin’ a Jug

Artist: Louis Armstrong
Album: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

When Pops met Tea: This was Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden‘s first recorded encounter, and by some historical accounts one of the earliest meetings of black and white musicians documented in a studio. The session came about at the behest of the young banjoist and guitarist Eddie Condon, after an all-night party welcoming Armstrong back to New York City. Condon is credited as the tune’s co-composer, but he doesn’t appear on the recording itself; he had passed out, done in by the gallon jug of whiskey brought along for artistic camaraderie. Guitarist Eddie Lang offers laid-back single-note accompaniment, Teagarden sets the relaxed, morning-after jam-session mood with his blues-soaked, in-need-of-a-shave trombone solo, and Armstrong delivers the payoff with two exquisite choruses and a shimmering cadenza that punctuates the proceedings with a good-time-was-had-by-all proclamation. When the studio staff asked Armstrong for the title of the tune, he noted the now-empty gallon of whiskey and said, “Man, we sure knocked that jug… You can call it ‘Knockin’ a Jug’!”

Leave a Reply