Soon after Louis Armstrong left King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band and just before he began to record under his own name, he accompanied many of the great blues singers of the 1920’s. Armstrong can be heard on numerous sessions with singers such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Armstrong had the touch and the feel needed for the blues due to his upbringing in the musical melting pot of New Orleans, the fact that much of jazz is rooted in the blues tradition and his complete brilliance to hear and understand the various nuances of the blues.
‘Satch Blows the Blues” is a wonderful collection of Armstrong’s blues recordings. The music ranges from his 1926 band the Hot 5 in 1926 through his 1955 session date as Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars.
Throughout this collection, we hear that Armstrong is comfortable in all facets of the blues. He excels with Tin Pan Alley tear-jerkers like “When Your Lover Has Gone” and “St. Louis Blues”, a vaudeville-style risqué tune like “Tight Like That” just as well as he can move about freely in a traditional 12 bar blues structure.
The 1955 session with His All-Stars was for a recording called ‘Louis Armstrong plays W.C. Handy,' who is often considered the father of the blues. Five of the fifteen songs on this collection are W.C. Handy tunes including an inspiring rendition of the classic “Beale Street Blues.”
‘Satch Blows the Blues’ provides a different perspective of this legendary jazz and pop artist, one which shows a mastery of yet another complete genre, the blues.
Release date: July 23, 2002
Track Listing: 1. West End Blues
2. Basin Street Blues
3. St. James Infirmary
4. Tight Like That
5. St. Louis Blues
6. Black and Blue
7. Dallas Blues
8. Blue, Turning Gray Over You
9. Memories of You
10. Blue Again
11. When Your Lover Has Gone
12. Lawd! You Made the Night Too Long
13. Hesitation Blues
14. The Memphis Blues
15. Beale Street Blues
16. Yellow Dog Blues
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.