Lil Armstrong / Lil Hardin Armstrong

Chicago: The Living Legends

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Despite being active up until her death in 1971, Lil Armstrong only recorded a handful of numbers in the 1950's. This CD reissue (other than the soundtrack of a slightly later television special) has her final recording, a jam session from 1961. On three dixieland warhorses, some blues, a few basic originals and "Bugle Blues," the pianist (who sings on "Clip Joint") leads a spirited if overcrowded band comprised of three trumpets, two trombones, two clarinetists (Darnell Howard and Franz Jackson), bassist Pops Foster and drummer Booker Washington; "Boogie Me" gives her a chance to perform a duet with Washington. The ensembles of the other songs are often riotous and this rather spontaneous and undisciplined outing is generally exciting if erratic. This is fun music by a pianist who should have been documented much more extensively in her later years.

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