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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Crotchet
LOUIS ARMSTRONG Vol. 5
Jeepers Creepers
Original recordings 1938-39
NAXOS JAZZ LEGENDS 8.120815

 

 

  1. When the Saints Go Marching In
  2. Love Walked In
  3. I’ve Got a Pocketful of Dreams
  4. I Can’t Give You Anything but Love
  5. Ain’t Misbehavin’
  6. Shadrack
  7. Elder Eatmore’s Sermon on Throwing Stones
  8. Jonah & the Whale
  9. Elder Eatmore’s Sermon on Generosity
  10. Jeepers Creepers
  11. What is this This Thing Called Love
  12. Rockin’ Chair
  13. Lazybones
  14. Save, Pretty Mama
  15. West end Blues
  16. Savoy Blues
  17. Our Monday date
  18. Confessin’ (That I Love You)
  19. Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home
  20. Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya

At the time of these recordings ‘Satch’ was 37/8 and at the height of his power as both trumpet player and entertainer. He was without date the first jazz superstar, beloved of people all over the world. This album of his recordings which range from backings by the Decca Mixed Voice, Choir and Organ and mostly with medium sized bands usually with 3 or 4 trumpets, 2 or 3 trombones and 3 to 5 saxes plus rhythm. Tracks 7,8 &9 have little jazz content, they are monologues but no doubt audiences found them entertaining at the time. Much more interesting is the quality of the musicians in the Armstrong band at that time. The tuning and precision of the section work is very polished and relaxed and as well as some delightful solos from Satch we also hear some fine Trombone from J C Higginbotham on the opening track. Track 11 has another fine band and they demonstrate their ability to take on the Swing Bands that were in vogue at the time. Sid Catlett plays a fine drum solo in the band that included Henry Allen, Wilbur de Paris and Pops Foster. The next track Rockin’ Chair has Pee Wee Hunt sharing the vocal with the leader and I must confess that I thought that the Teagarden/Armstrong duet on the famous New York Town Hall Concert of 1947 was the original! Louis also shares the vocal with Pee Wee Hunt on the next track Lazybones, this time the backing is by the Glen Gray band.

Tracks 14,15&16 have us back with the Armstrong band, 14&15 have vocals from Louis but track 16 is purely instrumental, Louis plays trumpet as only he could on all of them. Savoy Blues is played by Louis in the spirit of New Orleans, but with a backing from his saxophone section, he contributes a fine middle register solo to this track, returning at the end to show case the piece to a close. Monday Date is a good tune and the band does it justice on the next track.

Throughout the album Louis demonstrates just what he could do as trumpet player, compose, vocalist, bandleader and entertainer. When you consider he was born into poverty and had a difficult childhood it is remarkable that he achieved so much and became an icon of jazz without par.

As usual with this series the sleeve notes by Scott Yanow are excellent, the Transfer & Production by David Lennick and the Digital restoration by Graham Newton are all top class.

Don Mather



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