Louis Armstrong / King Oliver

Creole Jazz

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This CD reissue from 1998 has its good and bad points. The good points to the reissue of 11 selections by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (the best jazz group on record in 1923) are that the recording quality has been greatly improved from the past, and the music is timeless. The bad points are that there is less than half an hour of music on this CD; Louis Armstrong, a sideman with the group, should not have been given first billing; and these performances are actually available in more complete form elsewhere. What's here are all nine selections from the band's first recording session (which was the recording debut for King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and clarinetist Johnny Dodds), plus two of the four numbers from the band's fourth session; all of the music originally came out on the Gennett label. Since this is a budget release, it can act as a strong introduction to this famous band's music, although more serious collectors will want the whole story. Highlights include "Canal Street Blues," "Chimes Blues," "Dippermouth Blues" and "Snake Rag."

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