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The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings, Vol. 2

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Album Review

The second volume of Legacy's brilliant collection of Louis Armstrong's complete Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings reveals the transition from quintet to septet. The first four tunes have May Alix added on vocals, and then Harry Clark replaces Kid Ory, who briefly went off to start his own band. In May of 1927, however, John Thomas takes over the trombone chair, Baby Dodds joins on drums, and Pete Briggs on tuba to round out the septet. But the band changes to a tentet a few days later on a different session with Earl Hines on the piano and bass added to the mix as well as a second cornetist. The personnel changes were confusing during this era, but the music wasn't. The sound here developed into something so gloriously complex and rich that neither New Orleans nor anyone else had heard anything like it before. Duke Ellington, who was leading his first real band in 1927, was deeply enamored with these recordings — especially "Wild Man Blues," "Chicago Breakdown," and "Melancholy." In September of that year, the original band reunited, bringing it back down to the Hot Five for the remainder of 1927 and, as such, on tracks such as "Ory's Creole Trombone," "The Last Time," and the amazing "Got No Blues." The sound quality is slightly better here in that there is a bit less hiss. The fidelity and integrity of the tracks themselves are nearly flawless.


Born: August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Louis Armstrong was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music's history. As a trumpet virtuoso, his playing, beginning with the 1920s studio recordings made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, charted a future for jazz in highly imaginative, emotionally charged improvisation. For this, he is revered by jazz fans. But Armstrong also became an enduring figure in popular music, due to his distinctively phrased bass singing and engaging...
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