8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An excellent glimps of early jazz,
This review is from: Hot Fives and Sevens (Audio CD)
These early Armstrong recordings, along with the King Oliver and Kid Ory recordings from the same era suffered from either being difficult to get hold of or being available in very poor quality forms for many years. Now they can be heard in all their glory and what wonderful stuff it is too. The other reason "this jazz" fell into disrepute was by association with the Trad Jazz movement of the late 50s and 1960s that sought to slavishly replicate what it saw as a definitive jazz. This was just plain wrong thinking. If jazz is about anything it is about creatively moving forward. Their have been a few people in jazz who have move the music forward as innovators or as a focus of developments but this has often been distorted in the publics, and indeed critics, imaginations because the people who are remembered are those who got the recording dates and got the tunes down. Much of the music here derived from the cross fertilisation of a community of musicians who shared ideas and played together long into the night after their paid gigs were over. Armstrong is however a unique individual, one of the early pioneers whose magical combination of supreme horn playing, fantastic voice and a almost cartoonish level of showmanship made him a star.
Many people think that he sold out in his later years and their is some justification for this view in that he was recorded in some pretty sterile settings, but he never lost he love of music making and entertaining.
These are the recording where Armstrong really took wings and made his mark. The another high point of his career is his recordings with Ella Fitzgerald back by Oscar Peterson (whose importance in that particular bit of musical alchemy often gets overlooked)and represents the popular face of Armstrong that many of us are most familiar with but the Hot Fives and Sevens recordings are pure magic and in the context of their era were as startling and new as Parker and Coltrane were in theirs. It is a great shame that many people feel the need to stick to one kind of jazz (what ever "jazz" as a label means). I simply love this music.