Louis Armstrong

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

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For affordability and sound quality, JSP outshines Columbia and most other labels with its high protein four-disc Hot Fives & Sevens collection. Volume two of this set documents an especially fine segment of the Louis Armstrong story with 21 classic sides waxed in Chicago between May and December 1927. These are some of the best records Louis Armstrong ever made. They also rate among the most important jazz recordings of all time. "Willie the Weeper," for example, defines the artist, the genre and the entire human condition. Armstrong's Hot Seven swelled to ten pieces at the sessions held from May 9-14; pianist Earl Hines came aboard for these exciting dates and Carroll Dickerson acted as bandleader. All of the essential Armstrong components are here in concentrated form; "Alligator Crawl" and "Potato Head Blues" are unparalleled masterworks, and "That's When I'll Come Back to You" is a distillation of the great Afro-American vaudeville tradition. Here Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong align themselves with Butterbeans & Susie and their contemporaries Coot Grant and Kid Wilson. During the autumn of 1927 Louis Armstrong pared his ensemble back down to the original quintet. Highlights from this period include "Ory's Creole Trombone" (first recorded by Kid Ory in 1922) and Lil Armstrong's magnum opus "Struttin' with Some Barbecue." The sessions which took place on December 10 and 13 featured guitarist Lonnie Johnson, an exceptionally fine improviser who brought yet another level of artistic eloquence to this already sublimely endowed jazz band.

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