Louis Armstrong: Satch Blows The Blues (2002)
Senior Contributor since 1997Jim Santella has been contributing CD reviews, concert reviews and DVD reviews to AAJ since 1997. His work has also appeared in Southland Blues, The L.A. Jazz Scene, and Cadence Magazine.
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Beginning with “West End Blues” and proceeding in chronological order from that 1928 Hot Five session to “Yellow Dog Blues” in a 1955 session with all-star lineup, Satch Blows The Blues features an arbitrary selection of songs in which Louis Armstrong sings and plays the blues. The period 1932-54 and beyond is omitted in favor of a unified format in which many of Armstrong’s finest recordings appear together. These are memorable occasions. Emotion pours from every corner, and Armstrong always seems to have fun. Both his raspy voice and clarion trumpet are featured on each track. Various instrumental partners make significant contributions; among them are Don Redman, Earl Hines, J.C. Higginbotham, Trummy Young and Barney Bigard. Lionel Hampton plays the vibraphone on a 1930 recording of “Memories of You.” Undoubtedly among Armstrong’s best bands, they’re perfect partners for the seminal jazz pioneer. The leader’s spirited enthusiasm shines through like headlights in the gloomy night. If that makes us feel like deer crossing the highway, so be it.
Track Listing: West End Blues; Basin Street Blues; St. James' Infirmary; Tight Like That; St. Louis Blues; Black and Blue; Dallas Blues; Blue, Turning Grey Over You; Memories of You; Blue Again; When Your Lover Has Gone; Lawd! You Made the Night Too Long; Hesitation Blues; The Memphis Blues (Mister Crump); Beale Street Blues; Yellow Dog Blues.
Personnel: Louis Armstrong- trumpet, vocal; Otis Johnson, Harold Scott, Homer Hobson, George Orendorff, Henry Allen- trumpet; Zilner Randolph- trumpet, arranger; Fred Robinson, J.C. Higginbotham, Luther Graven, Preston Jackson, Trummy Young- trombone; Albert Nicholas, William Thornton Blue, Barney Bigard- clarinet; George James- clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Lester Boone- clarinet, alto saxophone; Jimmy Strong, Charlie Jones, Albert Washington- clarinet, tenor saxophone; Don Redman- alto saxophone, vocal; Les Hite- alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader; Charlie Holmes, Bert Curry, Marvin Johnson, Crawford Wethington- alto saxophone; Teddy Hill- tenor saxophone; Carroll Dickerson- violin; Luis Russell, Henry Prince, Charlie Alexander- piano; Earl Hines, Gene Anderson- piano, celeste; Mancy Cara- banjo; Bill Perkins- banjo, guitar; Will Johnson, Mike McKendrick- guitar; Pops Foster, Joe Bailey, John Lindsay, Arvell Shaw- bass; Lionel Hampton- drums, vibraphone; Zutty Singleton, Paul Barbarin, Tubby Hall, Barrett Deems- drums; Velma Middleton- vocal on