The Rough Guide To Jazz Legends: Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong helped create the rich musical tradition we now know as jazz and was one of the most revered jazz musicians of the twentieth century. Adoringly remastered, this Rough Guide explores his enduring legacy, from an innovative soloist on cornet and trumpet, to a distinctive and expressive vocalist with the most gravely tones you ever heard.
Featuring bonus CD of Jazz Legends
- Listen Louis Armstrong's Hot Seven: Willie The Weeper (3:09)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: West End Blues (3:11)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: Savoy Blues (3:13)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five: Heebie Jeebies (2:58)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Savoy Ballroom Five: St James Infirmary (3:20)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His All Stars: Ain't Misbehavin' (3:08)
- Listen Louis Armstrong: Dear Old Southland (3:18)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: Hobo You Can't Ride This Train (2:59)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: That's My Home (Live) (4:57)
- Listen Louis Armstrong: I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (3:54)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: Perdido Street Blues (3:06)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: When It's Sleepy Time Down South (3:11)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His All Stars: Back O' Town Blues (4:15)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Dixieland Seven: Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (3:00)
- Listen Louis Armstrong: That Lucky Old Sun (3:06)
- Listen Louis Armstrong: C'est Si Bon (3:03)
- Listen Louis Armstrong: La Vie En Rose (3:24)
- Listen Louis Armstrong: Basin Street Blues (4:11)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: Struttin' With Some Barbecue (2:57)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His All Stars: Mack The Knife (3:23)
- Listen Louis Armstrong with Oscar Peterson: Blues In The Night (5:13)
- Listen Jack Teagarden With Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra: Rockin’ Chair (3:13)
- Listen Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers: Wild Man Blues (3:10)
- Listen Fats Waller Feat Sara Martin: Taint Nobody's Bus’ness If I Do (2:59)
- Listen Louis Armstrong With Billie Holiday: My Sweet Hunk O’ Trash (3:24)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra With Louis Jordan: You Rascal You (3:11)
- Listen Bessie Smith & Louis Armstrong: The St Louis Blues (3:11)
- Listen King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band: Weather Bird Rag (2:46)
- Listen Jimmie Rodgers: Blue Yodel # 9 (Standing On The Corner) (2:43)
- Listen Velma Middleton with Louis Armstrong And His All Stars: That's My Desire (4:52)
- Listen Bing Crosby With Louis Armstrong: Gone Fishin' (2:31)
- Listen Louis Armstrong And Ella Fitzgerald: Who Walks In When I Walk Out (2:21)
- Listen Fats Domino: Blueberry Hill (3:05)
One should always be cautious when bandying around words such as ‘greatest’ and ‘mostest’. But with Louis Armstrong such caution can surely be thrown to the wind. Few would argue that he was the greatest and most influential jazz musician of the twentieth century.
On this compilation we concentrate on the unforgettably hot jazz music he made over four prolific decades between the 1920s and 1950s, and which justifiably earned him a reputation as one of the world's best-loved entertainers.
A precociously accomplished player, Louis Armstrong’s reputation had exploded in Chicago by the early 1920s. By the end of 1924 he was in New York City, expanding his musical vocabulary with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and accompanying the leading ‘blues mamas’ of the time such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Trixie Smith and Alberta Hunter on some classic recordings, and recording some fine sides with Clarence Williams’ Blue Five.
Back in Chicago the following year, he began recording under his own name for Okeh Records, cutting brilliant sides such as ‘West End Blues’ (featured on this compilation) with a small jazz combo. His warm, effervescent personality busted out all over these recordings, as he jived delightful ad libs to his musicians (‘whip that thing, Miss Lil!’) or scatted wordlessly and brilliantly on hits such as ‘Heebie Jeebies’ (also featured here), one of the first recordings in the style.
Once back in New York again, Armstrong formed a new group, Louis Armstrong And The Stompers, one of the highlights of which was his rendition of ‘Ain't Misbehavin'’, which is also featured here.
By the early 1940s he had settled in Queens, New York. But jazz tastes were changing again as the swing era faded and small groups came back into vogue in place of the big bands. By 1947 he had dissolved his touring big band and, at a New York Town Hall concert, unveiled a new six-piece group, Louis Armstrong And His All Stars, featuring Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and Jack Teagarden, among others.
The late 1940s and 1950s found him recording a series of brilliant duets with a number of other singers, among them Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Louis Jordan and Fats Domino, all of whom are featured on the bonus disc of this compilation. He also recorded with the pianist Oscar Peterson and enjoyed a huge hit with a thrilling version of ‘Mack The Knife’ in 1955 (again featured here).
In his final years, Louis Armstrong enjoyed considerable pop success, and remained a tireless musical ambassador, crisscrossing the globe to entertain.