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Satchmo - A Musical Autobiography

Louis Armstrong

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Album Review

Louis Armstrong's Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography was recorded as an oral memoir (with overdubbed background piano by Billy Kyle) combined with re-creations of many of his memorable recordings, as well as a few of the originals. Although such a project had the potential to become trite, the effort comes off very well indeed. This three-CD reissue has a few improvements as well. Almost every track that was previously edited to fit onto LPs has been restored to its original length. Louis Untermeyer's original liner notes have been augmented by excellent updated text by Joshua Berrett. And in spite of the warning about sound problems from using some deteriorated tapes and worn discs as source material, the audio experience is quite pleasing. While these re-creations aren't meant to take the place of Armstrong's historic recordings from earlier decades with King Oliver, Earl Hines, and other greats, they have stood the test of time rather well, except for the, at best, average vocals of Velma Middleton; Armstrong's furor with the suggestion that he omit the plump singer from his set during the 1957 Newport Festival is described in detail in Berrett's notes. While this collection isn't the initial purchase a neophyte jazz fan would pick up from Armstrong's immense catalog, his interesting narrative and the enjoyable renditions of tunes closely associated with him make this a very worthwhile purchase.

Customer Reviews

Great

Great autobiography

Biography

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,...
Full Bio

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