Louis Armstrong’s 1930s recording of this (with the Los Angeles-based band of Les Hite) is a prime example of Armstrong at his early best, on both trumpet and vocal. Young Lionel Hampton is on drums; six years later he would record the tune again, on vibes, as an esteemed member of Benny Goodman’s sextet.
Cornetist William “Wild Bill” Davison fell under the sway of Armstrong yet developed a unique, growling sound. Firmly entrenched in the Chicago style promulgated by guitarist Eddie Condon, his acerbic style graced many a record date. Paired with clarinetist Edmond Hall and a Condon contingent on a 1945 date, Bill alternately caresses and fiercely attacks “Confessin’.”
Tenor saxophonist Lester Young was a fan of the tune, recording it several times over the span of his career. Two are standouts: his first, for the indie label Aladdin in 1947, and for Verve in 1952, backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio.
Chris Tyle - Jazz Musician and Historian