Louis Armstrong

Hello Dolly [Four Star]

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After over 40 years of innovation as an instrumentalist, vocalist and entertainer, Louis Armstrong had become, by 1964, an internationally known superstar and a living legend. One of his most popular albums from the '60s, HELLO DOLLY captures the Armstrong of this era--his voice leathered and wise, performing signature tunes like the title track or "A Kiss To Build A Dream On" with inimitable flare. By the time of the album's release, Armstrong's musical persona had almost overshadowed his music, and his mugging for the microphone, his wry asides and his trademark sandpaper vocals, as tough and lovable as an old baseball glove, bordered on self-parody.

Nevertheless, HELLO DOLLY is Satchmo at his mainstream best, crammed full of his renditions of popular Broadway tunes, including "A Lot of Livin' To Do," from Bye Bye Birdy, and "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's. The instrumentation, which includes banjo, guitar, clarinet and trombone, lends an old-timey feel to even the more contemporary tunes. The disc closes with the light but spirited swing of "Jeepers Creepers."

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