Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A forgotten treasure by Satch.A bunch of swing!!!
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 08/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After turning 50,Armstrong,who already had given to the world some of the most incredible masterpieces of the history of music,and who was,maybe,the greatest living legend of jazz,Armstrong could have decided to rest.He was beginning to have health troubles;troubles with his lips,first;then troubles with his heart;after several diseases,he had a big heart trouble in 1959,the year this album was recorded,and after that,doctors told him not to play anymore;but he didn't care,because playing was his life;after the masterpieces of the fifties ("Satch plays Fats","plays W.C.Handy","a musical autobiography","the Good Book" and "plays KIng Oliver", he did another immense recording session with Duke Ellington,in 1961;and even if his last years were not as musically great as before,he was still here singing,and blowing when he could,until his death,July 6,1971,aged...? 71,maybe (until recently,his birthday was July 4,1900); or 69 (now,he is supposed to be born August,1901);or a little bit more than 71,referring to the testimonies of older New Orleans players.Maybe we'll never know.
And maybe we don't care.
The fact is that Louis Armstrong career really started in July,1922.July,again;July 4th,July 6th,and another day of July.That day of July,1922,the young Louis,living in New Orleans,received a telegram from the biggest star of the era,Joe "King" OLIVER (1885-1938),asking him to go to Chicago to join his band.That's how the legend appeared.Louis went to Chicago,of course,and played with the King;then he joined Fletcher Henderson's orchestra in NYC;then,the Hot Five and Hot Seven;and then,glory.
21 years after Oliver's tragic death in Savannah,Georgia,where he was living in total poverty and sent dramatic letters to his family shortly before passing,saving up cent after cent to buy a train ticket he never bought,21 years after the death of one of the most important jazz players of all times,Louis had the opportunity to pay a tribute to his mentor.Remembering the good old days of the roaring twenties,he choose some tunes from the King's repertoire,and played them with Trummy Young,tb,Peanuts Hucko,cl,Billy Kyle,p,Mort Herbert,b and Danny Barcelona,dms,September and October 1959.The result is a highlight in Satch's late career."Chimes blues" has very great,yet so simple,so evident,blowing by Satch.The two takes of the magnificent "Saint James Infirmary" rank among Louis greatest performances;the dirge atmosphere is outstanding;and please,listen to the lyrics of this very sad song:they're some of the most emotionnal I've ever heard.Played at an incredibly slow tempo,this version of "St James" is a true masterpiece,some of the greatest music ever played."Old Kentucky home" is the only tune which was never played by Oliver;asked about it,Satch answered:"well,he might have played it".Of course he might,because this song was written in 1853.And Louis loved this melody;he played it often.Now,there's "FRankie and Johnny";aka Frankie and Albert,or Frankie Baker,this melody seems to appear around 1840;it has often been recorded by blues artists (Mississippi John Hurt's terrific 1928 version);considering it as an old tune,Louis thought of recording it without the band,with just a barrelhouse piano support.Billy Kyle transforms himself into a honky tonk piano player,while Louis sings the most complete version of this song ever recorded.There are great lyrics here:
"So bring on your creep and your flowers,
"bring on your rubber-tight hat,
"Cause there's eight men to go to the graveyard,
"But only seven comin' back"
It makes me think of Jim Thompson's or Chester Himes' writing:the art of telling the most with a very few words,and a way to describe tragic,but ordinary facts with poetic images.
"I ain't gonna give nobody..." is another masterful performance by Satch;and so are all of these tunes.
OK,maybe this record is not as great as "plays W.C.Handy" or "musical autobiography";if Satch's band still had Barney Bigard,Arvell Shaw and Cozy Cole,it would have been better;or even Barrett Deems;but if the sidemen are not the best you can dream of,Louis is at his very best.He couldn't have missed this session,because Oliver was the man who gave Louis the opportunity to become the most shining star of jazz.This record is essential.Don't miss it!!!"
* 1959 All-Stars LP *
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | 04/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Louis Armstrong Plays King Oliver is somewhat of a lost All-Stars LP, and while it may be the least of the three, it certainly deserves to be remembered and enjoyed along with Plays W.C. Handy and Satch Plays Fats.This CD version of Plays King Oliver has stellar sound, and features multiple alternate takes. Unfortunately a very bad decision was made regarding sequencing, in that the alternate version of each song comes directly after each original, meaning that in order to hear the original album one must program it in, skipping the alternate takes.Sequencing quibbles aside, there is a heck of a lot of good music on here, paying tribute to Louis's idol and mentor, "Papa" Joe Oliver. The songs are tunes either written by King Oliver, or tunes that Oliver played. St. James Infirmary is taken at an incredibly slow and eerie pace, and when Louis comes back to repeat the main theme at the end, the effect is breathtaking. Louis sings a charming version of Frankie And Johnny accompanied only by an old-time honky tonk piano. Jelly Roll Blues is a beautiful take on the Jelly Roll Morton Classic. Chimes Blues is deep and bluesy return to the tune Oliver and Armstrong first recorded way back in 1923. The title Old Kentucky Home may seem out of place, but musically the song fits right in, and when Louis prompts his band to sing along with him for a chorus, the result is rather touching. Panama Rag is a joyous up tempo romp, and I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of This Jelly Roll is pure Satchmo fun, with Louis not in the mood to "give nobody none to save their soul." There is a good amount of straight-up blowing on this album, and the recordings have a more informal feel that the other two "plays" albums. Though it is without Arvell Shaw and Barney Bigard, this all-stars group is still a respectable one, with Trummy Young and Billy Kyle as it's standout members. Of course Louis is in fine form, blowing and singing like it's going out of style, but this goes without saying.Anyone who is a fan of Armstrong's amazing W.C. Handy and Fats Waller tributes will surely want to add Plays King Oliver to their stash of Armstrong goodies. Personel:
Peanuts Hucko - Clarinet
Trummy Young - Trombone
Billy Kyle - Piano
Mort Herbert - Bass
Danny Barcelona - Drums
Louis Armstrong - Trumpet & Vocals"
Louis Armstrong at his best
Gerald Davis | Melbourne, FL United States | 03/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You can't ask for more, his distinctive gravelly voice and virtouso trumpet playing the man was and still is a giant!!"