These seminal recordings, document an utterly captivating, riveting music. Louis Armstrong transmitted an energy to his musicians that propelled them to play what was almost by any measure of judgement completely new jazz. The compositions were built on syncopated rhythmic innovations and presented radical melodic challenges to the dominant blues idiom. The material was treated by the Hot Fives and Sevens with layers of complex dynamics, elevated to ecstatic heights by Armstrong's dazzling execution on trumpet and the pioneering clarinet work of Johnny Dodds. Dodds' expressive range and penetrating timbre paved the way for the great clarinettists of the swing era: Sidney Bechet, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw. Some of the themes are so abstract and ironic they sound decades ahead of their time. "Potato Head Blues", "Wild Man Blues" and "Twelfth Street Rag" are so intensely vigorous that you'll see straight away why this music took off as it did, why reactionaries thought it was the music of the devil, why conservatives thought it was subversive, why progressives didn't understand it.
11 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?