A good intro to Louis
Gordon R Cameron | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm no expert on Louis Armstrong (though I do have some of his early Hot Five recordings), so I couldn't tell you whether or not these recordings represent the best versions of various standards or not. Armstrong probably recorded some of the tunes a dozen times. But this disc is a great intro to the style -- Armstrong's commanding trumpet solos as well as his inimitable gravelly voice.The best track is probably the first, "Sunny Side of the Street." There are two big trumpet solos here, one at the beginning and one at the end -- and they are both magnificent. Please forgive me Wynton Marsalis, but I have always doubted Armstrong's techincal proficiency -- at least with regard to polish and note-perfect virtuosity -- but the man had musical cojones, no question about it. He steamrolls through this evergreen with his trumpet on full blast, in a kind of drunken swagger, knocking everyone else out of the water (listen to how he obliterates the trombone bit that precedes his second solo at the end of the song). I think that "swagger" in his trumpet lines is more or less the same thing as rubato, combined with lots of strategic note-slurring; anyway it sounds swell.I also love the recording of "Lazy River," on which Louis groans and grumbles and mumbles in between singing the verses (I love it when he says "Modulate, daddy, modulate!" as the piano solo comes in). The funny thing is that a lot of the seemingly "improvised" mannerisms on this recording (all that stuff at the beginning, "talking" to the trombone -- "way down, way down, way down" etc.) are almost exactly the same as those on another version of the same song from over 20 years earlier. Apparently when Louis found something he liked, he stuck with it.Lots of other good stuff here. The duet with Louis Jordan, "(I'll Be Glad When You're Dead) You Rascal You," is delightful. Ditto the lazy "Gone Fishing" with Bing Crosby ("I'm real gone, man"). This disc features the version of "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" that Nora Ephron used in "Sleepless In Seattle." Unfortunately not all of Louis' costars hold up well -- even the liner notes admit the chorus on "That Lucky Old Sun" is "unspeakable" (their words), and the Mills Brothers, backing up Satch on a 1930s recording of "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree," seem quite dated compared to Armstrong, however influential they may have been back in the day.All in all, a good collection."
THE SIGNATURE SONGS
ALAIN ROBERT | ST-HUBERT,QUÉBEC | 02/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here are the songs that will always be associated with SATCHMO before the sixties.In his career,LOUIS recorded with virtually every record company:DECCA,RCA,VERVE,COLUMBIA and even CAPITOL(the soundtrack of HIGH SOCIETY).In the best of department,he is the world champion.Trying to compile the numerous greatest hits cds in his catalogue is quite a task.This one is among the ones that delivers the goods.Once you've heard ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STEET done by him or everything else heard here,you can never imagine another doing it.As LOUIS says to BING during GONE FISHIN:you ain't tight up you dog and THE GYPSY although she often lies was right when she told you to buy this.This disc is offered at a low price and ... is never out of stock with SATCHMO."