Louis Armstrong

Jazz Moods: Hot

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The Louis Armstrong volume in Columbia's Jazz Moods: Hot series isn't a career overview, but it benefits from the narrowed focus. It concentrates on a very specific period in his career, the Hot Fives era of the late '20s, when Armstrong was introducing the most startling, innovative solo style in jazz history (some would argue he was inventing the solo style in jazz). Interestingly, it forsakes the usual introductory Hot Fives performances ("A Monday Date," "West End Blues") and relies mostly on instrumentals, the better to illustrate Armstrong's torrid work on the cornet. Although the brief running time makes it a purchase to discourage for anyone other than the budget listener, Jazz Moods: Hot paints a picture of Louis Armstrong that those only familiar with the Ken Burns version of jazz history have never seen before.

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