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The Essential Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

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Album Review

Even at two discs and 37 tracks, it's difficult to say that this set contains everything that is truly essential from Louis Armstrong's monumental five-decade career. It does, however, do a great job of touching down at key points, and nicely balances Armstrong's various guises as a groundbreaking sideman, soloist, bandleader, singer, and ultimately, American legend, icon, and the very embodiment of the face of jazz. Opening with Armstrong blowing accomplished blues choruses on 1925's "Sugar Foot Stomp" while a member of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, moving through his revolutionary Hot Five and Seven sessions and his years fronting and leading the Armstrong All-Stars, and concluding with 1968's poignant summation "What a Wonderful World," this lovingly assembled overview sketches a broad outline of perhaps the most important American musician of the 20th century. Armstrong's genius on the trumpet is aptly documented here, but so too is his equally innovative vocal style, which raised scat singing to the level of art, and brought the fluid, bending flow of the horn line into pop vocal phrasing, resulting in definitive versions of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Black and Blue" (one of the most subtly important vocal performances in the history of Western pop), "Lazy River," "Georgia On My Mind," "Stardust," "Blueberry Hill" (before Fats Domino), "Mack the Knife" (before Bobby Darin), and "What a Wonderful World." Serious Armstrong fans and collectors will already have everything here, but if you only have room in your collection for a single Armstrong set, and you want something that touches on the full sweep of his jazz and pop contributions, then this is the one to get.

Customer Reviews

The Essential Louis Armstrong

This is just a great album. i have other Louis Cds and vinyl of course, but this is a current favorite compilation. It gets to me, right to me; as only Louis. Thank you for this happy find.

Great album!

Great collection of Louis. Worth every penny to buy.

Louie's Goodies

I love vintage jazz!!! Louis Armstrong trumpets and sings them all!! WHAT WONDERFUL WORLD!!!

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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