Louis Armstrong

Clarence Williams' Blue Five

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This French LP collects together 16 recordings by pianist Clarence Williams' Blue Five from 1923-25. The brilliant soprano/saxophonist, Sidney Bechet, is on nearly every selection and Louis Armstrong co-stars on a dozen. These hot, small-group sides (some of which feature Eva Taylor's vocals) give Armstrong and Bechet a rare chance to jam together and the results are often magical. Best is Bechet on "Wild Cat Blues" (he takes an odd but wonderful solo on sarrusophone during "Mandy Make Up Your Mind"), and Armstrong on "Cake Walking Babies from Home." The latter shows just how brilliant a virtuoso Armstrong already was at this early stage.