Friday Night Jazz: Louis Armstrong

Friday, October 10, 2008 | 06:52 PM

Definitive_collectionI have been so crazy busy working on EVERYTHING -- the office, the market, the blog and the book -- that FNJ is one of the things that fell thru the cracks.

Well, given what a mad week/month this has been, and how overdue this is, its that time: Without further adieu, Satchmo:

~~~

I'm sure you've heard a Louis song or three: Hello Dolly, When the Saints, What a Wonderful World.

Hot_fives_sevensIf that's all you know of Satchmo, you are missing out. Considering his innovations as an artist -- amazing song-writing skills, unique vocals, mastery of the Coronet and the Trumpet, especially his stratospheric solos -- these well known ditties are practically boring.

Oh, and after he forgot the lyrics on the 1927 song "Heebie Jeebies," he invented Scat singing.

He was one of the most influential musicians in jazz history, setting new standards for originality and invention.

There are a couple of ways to get to know the works of Louis Armstrong:Ella_louis The most basic is to grab one the Best Of discs. For those of you who want to go this way, try the The Definitive Collection.

The collector types are more inclined to go for the complete earlier years, including his various ensembles known in this box set: The Hot Fives & Sevens. (Note that Columbia version is considered a much inferior remastering: The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings).

But of all of the Louis Armstrong works out there, none are more delightful than the many duets he recorded with Ella Fitzgerald. Aside from the small fact that her voice is incomparable to any female jazz singer before or since, there is a strange and beautiful complementary combination that is so unique and incredible. I can listen to these all day long -- they are unique works of art. 

AgainI highly recommend the first two: Ella and Louis  (1956), and Ella & Louis Again (1957).  Both are astonishing works of gentle beauty.

You can also check out Porgy & Bess soundtrack, but that is more for fans of that show.

(NOTE: There are all manners of different variations of these, so look at the song list before buying variations of the same album.)



From a WSJ article this past summer:

 "From 1925 to 1928, bandleader and trumpeter Louis Armstrong led a recording group, known as the Hot Five and Hot Seven, through nearly 90 recordings. These tracks are now considered among the most seminal, enduring and influential recordings not only in jazz but in American music and include "Big Butter and Egg Man," "Hotter Than That," "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "Potato Head Blues," and "S.O.L. Blues." In these dozens of sides, Armstrong abandoned the traditional collective improvisation of New Orleans-style jazz and almost single-handedly transformed the music from a group art into an art form for the soloist. He left behind two- and four-bar breaks of earlier jazz in favor of entire choruses of improvisation. In the 1920s, Armstrong would, more than anyone else, take the role of soloist to new heights in American music.

Besides his technical mastery, what else set him apart? His big, beautiful tone; his rich imagination as a soloist; his perfect sense of time; his deep understanding of the blues; his projection and authority; and the force of his musical personality.

And he boasted a gift for personalizing the material he recorded, transforming it into music that is unmistakably his in sound and style and ownership. The essence of jazz -- making something new out of something old, making something personal out of something shared -- has no finer exemplar than Armstrong."

videos after the jump

Summertime - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

What a Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong - Danny Kaye:  When the Saints Go Marchin In 

Dream a Little Dream   

Dean Martin & Louis Armstrong Medley

West End Blues

A Rhapsody in Black and Blue

Instrumental 

 

 

Louis Armstrong - Tight like This
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Sources:

You Tube: Ella & Louis

Louis Armstrong, Wikipedia 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, Red Hot Jazz
http://www.redhotjazz.com/louie.html

Satchmo.net
official website for Louis Armstrong House
http://www.satchmo.net/

Louis Armstrong's Revolution
The 80th anniversary of a celebrated American recording
JOHN EDWARD HASSE
WSJ, June 14, 2008; Page W16
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121338811823972983.html

Friday, October 10, 2008 | 06:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)
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Comments

Glad to see the music return. The markets have been all too consuming lately. Who knows if we will ever return to "normal times"?

Posted by: rightline | Oct 10, 2008 7:00:46 PM

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