The Hot Club de France was a group of avid European jazz fans who swapped records, organized concerts, and sponsored radio broadcasts overseas. Their enthusiasm for jazz carried well into the sixties and seventies, when most people had moved onto other jazz styles and, later, rock 'n' roll. The organization thus served as a haven for jazz artists who were able to play before eager crowds during the lean years.
This CD compiles the best of the Hot Club live performances and, since the members were dedicated to preserving "hot jazz, it features Dixieland, ragtime, and other early styles. Louis Armstrong is a performer, as is the rarely recorded Willie "The Lion Smith in a couple of beautiful solo recordings. Also featured are several performances by European jazz musicians, who have clearly absorbed the style and approach of their models.
The problem with this record is that it is like an appetizer without a main course. From several decades of performances, this provides an extremely small sampling of what the Hot Club has to offer us. Jazz fans would certainly snap up a box set featuring multiple discs, and this collection, while fine, is only a teaser. The Hot Club de France has an enormous musical legacy that deserves to be explored at greater length, and this single CD doesn't do it justice.
Track Listing: 1. Jean Peron Garvanoff and Francois Melchioro - Scottish Boogie 2. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen 3. Wilie Smith - Echoes of Spring 4. Louis Armstrong with Jewel Brown - Georgia On My Mind 5. New Orleans Dippers - I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me 6. Louis Armstrong - Blueberry Hill 7. Bill Coleman and the New Orleans Dippers - Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone 8. Memphis Slim - All On One Boogie 9. Willie Smith - Tea For Two 10. New Orleans Dippers - Sweet Lorraine 11. Louis Armstrong with Jewell Brown - Saint Louis Blues 12. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Go Ahead.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.