Product Description & Reviews
Originally released in 1957 as a four-LP set, Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography is a fitting reissue for the Armstrong centenary, an ambitious collaboration between Armstrong and producer Milt Gabler. Gabler was one of the great pioneers of jazz recording, from setting up the first independent label, Commodore, to producing Armstrong and Billie Holiday for Decca. For these marathon mid-'50s recordings, he had Armstrong revisit the early years of his career, from his youth in New Orleans--there's a comic recreation of a funeral parade--through the extraordinary first decade of his recording career that spanned from 1923 to the early '30s. Armstrong touches on his work with King Oliver's band and the great blues singers of the period, his association with Fletcher Henderson, and his own marvelous Hot Five and Hot Seven dates. Gabler may have caught him at the perfect moment. Armstrong had recently made the superb Plays W.C. Handy and Plays Fats Waller, he had a fine working band in the All-Stars, and he was still the magnificent trumpeter who had revolutionized music just three decades before. Armstrong's spoken introductions--with sparkling accompaniments by pianist Billy Kyle--are a delight, invoking the personalities and scenes of his youth with a unique charm. While these performances lack the newly minted genius of the originals, they strike a happy balance between fidelity to the originals and a fresh look at the material, with the small group tracks arranged by Bob Haggart and the big band by Sy Oliver. Tunes like "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and "On the Sunny Side of the Street" are imbued with as much spirit and grace as ever, and Armstrong gets tremendous support. Trumpeter Yank Lawson is an appropriate stand-in for King Oliver, emulating his mute work when the occasion demands, while Velma Middleton is more than competent in the thankless task of singing songs associated with Bessie Smith. The original four-LP set has been further enriched by additional tracks and the restoration of edited portions, resulting in a three-and-one-half hour guided tour of Armstrong's early years. --Stuart Broomer
Features & Highlights
|Item Weight:||0.4 pounds|
|Item Size:||5.75 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches|
|Package Weight:||0.18 pounds|
|Package Size:||4.97 x 0.54 x 0.54 inches|
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