U.S. Library of Congress archives recordings by Louis Armstrong, Pat Metheny

Musical works by jazz artists Louis Armstrong and Pat Metheny are among this year’s additions to the U.S. Library of Congress, the National Recording Registry announced Wednesday.

With their addition to the national archive, the 25 recordings in total are deemed “worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.”

The 2021 batch of recordings also includes Jimmy Cliff, Jackson Browne, Kool & the Gang, Janet Jackson, Nas, Labelle, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and Kermit the Frog.

Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra’s 1938 recording of When the Saints Go Marching In was recognized for being the first jazz recording of the famous hymn, which “broke barriers between church and dance hall by mixing a sacred song with jazz.”

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis said Armstrong’s recording can be credited for making a regional song internationally known. “I can’t imagine New Orleans culture without this song,” he said. “It is an indelible part of our history.”

Meanwhile, Metheny’s debut album Bright Size Life was recognized for signalling “a new direction for jazz” in the mid-1970s. The album, recorded when the guitarist was just 21, features Jaco Pastorius on bass and Bob Moses on drums. In 2020, Bright Size Life was included on Jazzwise‘s list of “100 jazz albums that shook the world.”


Recommended Links


Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said there were 900 public nominations this year.

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Hayden said in a statement.

Click here to see the list of all works added to the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry this year.