[29] Louis Armstrong – Hot Fives and Hot Sevens

25 Oct

Far more joyful than the Gospel to date. As exciting and energetic as any of the Rock on the list so far.  And a voice as big as Manhattan.  There is a reason Louis Armstrong is an American legend.

Hot Fives and Hot Sevens

Hot Fives and Hot Sevens











Armstrong has so influenced everything we’ve heard since these 1920s sides that almost a century later the sound is instantly accessible. The tiny snippets of borrowed tunes snuck in throughout keep even the most rambling passages from losing focus.

It’s all so very upbeat, so infectiously, toe tappingly uplifting.  There’s always much going on, but it’s never overwhelming – there’s always another melody line to pick out of the mix, another breathtaking solo to enjoy.

The various horns weave interlocking melody lines, trading the lead back and forth as the rhythm section keeps the songs driving on.  When the solos begin, you just wander along with them, following where they want to take you, barely noticing the plunking guitar or subtle walking bass.

I adore choosing which different, constantly shifting horn line to latch onto with each subsequent listen.  They are each mesmerizing and complex without being opaque – each can be followed cleanly enough, but the interaction is astounding.

If there’s one complaint, it is the relatively small number of tracks that Armstrong sings on, scatting and growling through some wonderful turns when he does.  It is in the scat that I finally grasp his trumpet playing, the spontenaity with which he picks where to go next, which note, which tone, which sound.

For all the sheer, sleek class of the recording however, I find it less interesting than some of the more esoteric jazz recordings so far.  While it is more immediate than the evolution that is The Cannonball Adderley Quintet, it seems I like my Jazz with a little more unpredictability, more edge.

But I am still more than glad to hear this, see the strong foundations that allowed Muhal Richard Abrams and Henry Threadgill to go wandering off where they would.

Owned before blogging?  No. (2 of 29. 7%)
Heard before blogging?  No. (4 of 29. 14%)
Recommend?  Yes. (24 of 29. 83%)

Next week:  Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of . . . 

2 Responses to “[29] Louis Armstrong – Hot Fives and Hot Sevens”


  1. [70] Sidney Bechet – Ken Burns’ Jazz | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - August 8, 2014

    […] That is not to say I haven’t greatly enjoyed some more traditional voices – Adderly, Armstrong and Baker come to mind – but at least on this recording I am not hearing anything that […]

  2. [78] Bix Beiderbecke – Singin’ The Blues, Vol. 1 | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - October 3, 2014

    […] built by the rest of the band.  Although recorded around the same time as Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens, the power of those legendary horns are replaced here with a playfulness that is infectious […]

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