Louis Armstrong

Hot Fives & Hot Sevens, Vol. 2 [Columbia]

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More excellent Hot Fives and Hot Sevens transfers from the JSP label. Beyond being bowled over by the presence and clarity of these perennial Armstrong performances, listeners get a chance to really hear the fine solos and group interplay by Hot Fives regulars Johnny Dodds, Kid Ory, Lil Armstrong, and Johnny St. Cyr. In addition to turning in inspired work on standout cuts like "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," the group holds its own on numbers featuring Armstrong and famed Chicago blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, including the classic "Hotter Than That." Adding tuba player Peter Briggs, drummer Baby Dodds, and trombonist John Thomas (who replaces Kid Ory), the Hot Fives become the Hot Sevens and reel off immortal tracks like "Potato Head Blues" and "S.O.L. Blues." And as a taste of the superb work Armstrong did with pianist Earl Hines, "Chicago Breakdown" -- the only Sunset Stompers recording made -- is included as well. (Hines and Armstrong would go on to record several more famous sides in 1928 as part of Carroll Dickerson's Savoyagers and various Armstrong-led groups, including classics like "Weather Bird" and "West End Blues.") As is the case with the other Hot Fives/Hot Sevens discs on JSP, this collection of 1927 sides is highly recommended.

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