Louis Armstrong is one of the all time greats of Jazz and will forever live
in the memory of aficionados of the traditional and modern scenes. This latest
album "I've Got The World On A String", provides a stark reminder
of why Louis was one of those greats. But, to be honest, I really felt that
for once the music had just become too dated, too predictable, too old! Maybe
some things, even as great as Louis, can't last forever or maybe it's just my
I felt curiously depressed listening to the first (and title) track, followed
by 'Blue, Turning Grey Over You' and then later on 'Snowball' which, although
classic and mellow Jazz numbers, failed to inspire me. Louis admittedly 'ups
the ante' with the pulsing 'Stardust' and performs magnificently in 'I Gotta
Right To Sing The Blues'. Both numbers evoking the glorious years of the burgeoning
popularity of Jazz particularly in the period between the two World Wars.
Sadly, though, many of the tracks seemed to me to be so naive and antiquated
now, that listening to them felt like the equivalent of watching a silent movie
in a modern Dolby surround sound cinema. This of course isn't Louis' fault,
but mine, and to a lesser extent the passage of time. However, to be honest
that's how it seemed to me. I wonder how you'll feel?
The tracks 'Sweet Sue', 'Just You' and 'There's A Cabin In The Pines' offered
little hope of anything further from the great man, and soon I longed for the
'Wonderful World' that first introduced me to Louis and his music. Perhaps the
only truly, for me, quintessential Louis Armstrong songs are 'The Lonesome Road'
and 'St Louis Blues', which bring out the best of his trumpet and his unmistakable
voice, reminding one of the reasons why Louis managed to prolong his career
so successfully until his untimely and premature death.
So, an album for the melancholy, for those wishing to hark back to the good
old days and for those who still appreciate the finer aspects of Louis' music,
but for me a disappointing, but not altogether surprising, experience.