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Music - Jazz - New Orleans Jazz - Great Jazz from the 20's

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The Hot Fives & Sevens [JSP] [Box]
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (26 October, 1999)
list price: $28.98 -- our price: $25.99
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Editorial Review

Between 1925 and 1929, Louis Armstrong created one of the first great bodies of work in jazz. While he worked regularly as a soloist with big bands, he began his career as a leader with the first all-star studio group in jazz, the Hot Five. The other four musicians were Armstrong's wife, Lil Hardin Armstrong, on piano; Johnny Dodds on clarinet; Kid Ory on trombone; and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo. The music's first great soloist, Armstrong was reshaping jazz by sheer improvisational magic, gradually diminishing the role of the traditional New Orleans ensemble with the clarion brilliance of his trumpet. Possessing an uncanny blend of exuberance and creativity, he combined virtuosic declarations with a talent for the subtlest shifts in phrasing and melodic variation, creating rich emotional statements that could hint at loss in the midst of joy or the promise of better things in the most sorrowful blues. The band expands here, to the Hot Seven and larger ensembles, and it gains soloists who applied Armstrong's lessons to their own instruments--musicians such as pianist Earl Hines and trombonist Jack Teagarden--but all come under the imprint of Armstrong's flowering genius, as both trumpeter and singer.

It's almost impossible to overrate this material. It may be the most influential music in jazz history, establishing standards for originality and sustained invention that have rarely been matched. The JSP set is a superb reissue of Armstrong's essential work. The remastering is by John R.T. Davies, widely acknowledged as the dean of engineers in the field of early jazz, and the resultant sound is simply the best this work has ever enjoyed. There are alternate takes of the later material on Columbia Legacy (including Louis in New York and St. Louis Blues), so collectors will want both. But this recording is superior listening, at a price that also makes it an ideal introduction to one of the few titans of jazz. --Stuart Broomer ... Read more


  • Box set
Reviews (40)

3-0 out of 5 stars Leaves me cold
I love twenties and thirties music and have a large collection of it. While I know that Louis Armstong is very important to the history of jazz, there is very little of his music that I enjoy. I recognize the technical virtuosity and the improvisational inventiveness. I can hear how tight these two groups were - they really became an organic whole, a unit with one mind performing several instruments. I like "Potato Head Blues." I find myself skipping through most of the other pieces, however. It could be the very strong New Orleans style that rules here. I prefer my twenties jazz sweetened up with the melody prominent, not simply a starting point for improvisation and jamming. Much of New Orleans Jazz wears on me the way those twenty minute guitar or bass or drum solos from the late sixties wore on me. Yes, I can hear that you can do incredible things with your instrument. Fine. You have my admiration, but not my love. This album is not going to be played every month (or year) the way my Six Jumping Jacks albums are played. Sure, Armstrong and his bands are the better musicians but the SJJ's have my love the way that The Kingsmen's version of "Louie, Louie," is my favorite version of that song. I'm glad I have this but it won't get played much.

Do you believe this guy below?

This is far superior sounding and budgeted than the Columbia issue of these recordings. I know, I own the Columbia versions. Let's hear it for JSP who have given us a reasonably priced alternative to the greedy SONY Company. Armstrong is long gone and I doubt his estate gets anything in the way of reasonable royalties from these greedy record companies. They take all the profit. And their profit is probably 500 to 900 %. It probably costs them 80 cents to put out a single CD, but they charge, on average almost 12 to 20 dollars for that single music CD. I bet a shiny new penny goes to the artist. If the record companies weren't so greedy maybe JSP and PROPER wouldn't need to spend time cleaning up this old material and putting out their great product. Let it be a lesson to these corporate jerks. Think of the fans and maybe Import Companies will stop making and selling these great compilations. I would image that all of this material is public domain by now, anyway. I'm surprised they're not knocking on people's doors with their hands out everytime someone sings Happy Birthday To You. I know they charge TV Producers for that little pleasure. Boo Hoo, Jeff Jones. I'm crying in my beer for the poor record companies. Music fans have probably payed the mortgage on your house three times over, my friend. And Armstrong was probably strong-armed (no pun intended) into signing over the publishing rights to his music long ago. That's the way they treated artists in Armstrong's day and his estate probably gets zilch!! So get over it!! Man, the audacity!!

I'll tell you what. Why don't you give us the name and address of Satchmo's estate and I'll send them a couple of bucks for buying this. I've saved more than that by buying from JSP and I'm sure it's more than SONY would give them.

By the way, this is a stunning remaster of Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven Legacy. BUY THIS NOW!!

Also check out JSP's Django Reinhardt Box Sets. Both are also reasonably priced and stunningly remastered.

I hope JSP and PROPER are getting rich from their generosity. I know I'm feeding their kitty. Thanks guys!! Keep up the great work!!


1-0 out of 5 stars This record is a BOOTLEG - Do Not Buy it.
I work for Columbia Records / Legacy Recordings and I know that this company whoever they are has no right to be selling this set in the US. Perhaps it is an import.In Europe this classic material is Public Domain. No royalties are being paid to the artist estate.
While the price is right, the artist and record company is being ripped off. ... Read more

Asin: B00001ZWLP
Subjects:  1. Box Sets (Audio Only)    2. Classic Jazz    3. Dixieland    4. Jazz    5. New Orleans Jazz    6. Pop   


Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (19 November, 1996)
list price: $17.97
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Editorial Review

The Dixie Syncopators led by King Oliver in this period at Chicago's Plantation Café were a very different kind of band than Oliver's earlier Creole Jazz Band, which had featured Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds. On the first nine tracks, recorded in Chicago, the new orchestra was a larger group than its legendary predecessor, accomodating the New Orleans improvisers into more developed arrangements, with two cornets and a three-member reed section. There are also fine small-group New York recordings from 1928, with Clarence Williams on piano and vocals, that include a stately "Tin Roof Blues." Two vitality-filled versions of "Got Everything (Don't Want Anything but You)," one with vocals and one without, are performed by a larger New York group. Throughout the band's evolution and permutating personnel on this CD, there are outstanding solo moments by Barney Bigard on tenor, Luis Russell on piano, and Dodds and Omer Simeon on clarinet, but it's Oliver's cornet that stands out, whether muted and vocal or a noble and stoic open-horned presence. --Stuart Broomer ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Pre ArmstrongJazz
King Oliver's 1923 recordings with Louis Armstrong and the Creole Jazz band are an explosion of greatness. This CD shows Oliver a few years later.
Oliver is a master of collective improvisation, New Orleans style. He is a sincere musician who thinks of the group sound before his own. These recordings show him in a good period, with master musicians and good material. The style is no longer collective, as the emphasis is on individual solos. Still Oliver's group orientation is strongly evident.
The sound of these tracks throws me back to other times, like good music can.
Oliver's solo trumpet playing represents the older style. He cannot burst into flaring solos like his protege Armstrong, and his swing is less obvious. At the time of these recordings there were already trumpeters who were copying Louis' style (Red Allen) and moving jazz forward.
These recordings are indispensable as they represent an era that was not recorded enough. Oliver's ability to get the best out of his sidemen is evident and shows the big heart this tragic person had.
I recommend the CD to anyone who loves 1920's jazz.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Genius Of King Oliver Rediscovered
Like his New Orleans cohort Jelly Roll Morton,King Oliver was responsible for the syncopated polyphony that a decade later became stock-in-trade as the Big Band "Swing" era (being milked for all it was worth by predominantly White bandleaders);the Dixie Syncopators featured on this disc captures Oliver's vision of a large New Orleans rooted Ensemble perfectly,-the band literally smokes on "Willie The Weeper" and "Aunt Hagar's Blues".These records sold moderately ok when they were released but Oliver was heading for his downfall come 1931 with a host of financial and career woes as well as severe dental problems that increasingly affected his playing.I'm honestly not a big fan of his 1929-1930 Orchestra (they were too 'Pop' ) but this CD still captures Oliver in his very prime - I would recommend people also listen to (and buy) the preceding "King Oliver And His Jazz Band 1923-1926" (also available from our friends at Amazon) on the same Chronological Classics label to get the whole picture of just how Oliver came to this big band.I am a very biased King Oliver nut - I live by his Creole Jazz Band but this set is essential listening to anyone who loves just plain Great jazz! ... Read more

Asin: B000001NLA
Subjects:  1. Classic Jazz    2. New Orleans Jazz   

Audio CD (19 November, 1996)
list price: $17.97
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Editorial Review

Born in New Orleans in 1892, Johnny Dodds became one of the founding fathers of traditional jazz. The self-taught musician, whose younger brother was drummer Warren "Baby" Dodds, principally played clarinet but also played alto saxophone. Dodds played with such pioneering jazz groups as Kid Ory and King Oliver and frequently played with early jazz masters Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Dodds, a thorough professional and expert bandleader, can be heard on these sides performing early jazz at its best in the company of such accomplished musicians as Freddie Keppard and George Mitchell on cornets, Ory and Eddie Vincent on trombone, and Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano. --John Swenson ... Read more

Asin: B000001NKH
Subjects:  1. Classic Jazz    2. New Orleans Jazz   

Birth of the Hot
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (29 August, 1995)
list price: $11.98 -- our price: $11.98
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Editorial Review

Jelly Roll Morton was at a creative peak in Chicago in 1926 and '27, surrounded by first-rate fellow New Orleans musicians and with plenty of opportunities to record. Many of the musicians who contributed to Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings appear here--trombonist Kid Ory, banjoist Johnny St. Cyr, clarinetist Johnny Dodds, and his drummer brother Baby Dodds--while George Mitchell contributes sterling cornet leads. Each track is a compressed masterpiece, a jigsaw puzzle of written composition, improvised ensembles, solos and duets, often with sound effects and bantering comic patter thrown in. "Black Bottom Stomp" and "The Chant" are brilliant examples of Morton's energized fusion of contrasting elements, while the piquant "Someday Sweetheart," with its combination of violins, guitar, and Omer Simeon's bass clarinet, demonstrates Morton's inventiveness as an orchestrator. From low humor to high mimicry, Morton was an artist of ebullient spirit who brought the whole of his experience to the recording studio: the car horn of "Sidewalk Blues," the forced laughter of "Hyena Stomp," and the barnyard vocals of "Billy Goat Stomp." By contrast, the final Chicago session includes compact trio performances of "Wolverine Blues" and "Mr. Jelly Lord" by Morton and the Dodds brothers that are refined intersections of ragtime and jazz improvisation. --Stuart Broomer ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Ain't nobody dead somebody must be dead drunk!"
"Jelly Roll" Morton's Red Hot Peppers, one of the greates jazz bands to ever assemble, recorded the song, "Dead Man Blues" in 1927 and the title quote is at the beginning with two brothers arguing if there is a New Orleans funeral or not. The funny quote is when the other brother says that he thinks somebody must be dead, and then the other guy snaps back with that hilarious quote. HA HA!

Jelly Roll was the first important composer of 1920's jazz and these are his finest recordings. They are strongly recommended to the classic jazz fan and are among my all time favorite pieces of jazz from an era which it named

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the very best
As a new fan of jazz, I picked this up to see where it began.Jelly Roll claims to be the father of jazz and this cd will make you think he just might have been.Each of the songs are excellent, masterful and will make even the most stoic person tap their foot.All of them are great and memorable.Jelly Roll played jazz with spirit, pizazz and mastery.One song especially good was "Dr Jazz" because you get to hear him sing but all of them are great.He put his heart into his music and that shows.The sound is also very good and adds to the enjoyment.

They truly don't make music like this anymore and this cd will show you that Jelly Roll was one of the best performers of last century.If you want something original and enjoy music from the golden age, pick this up.Its the best!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is Cool, Man, Van Cool
I have this at work all the time & is my #1 listenin' CD. I can stop people in their tracks when they here the sounds. The only complaint I have is it has a slighly uneven quality between tracks. But due to the age of the recordings (20's & early 30's), it is understandable that it is that way. Even so, I absolutely LOVE IT! ... Read more

Asin: B000002WTZ
Subjects:  1. Classic Jazz    2. Composer    3. Jazz    4. Leader    5. New Orleans Jazz    6. Pop   


Louis Armstrong and King Oliver
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (15 February, 1992)
list price: $18.98 -- our price: $18.98
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Editorial Review

When cornetist King Oliver invited Louis Armstrong to leave New Orleans and join the Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1922, he completed one of the greatest bands in jazz history. This CD includes the 1923 Gennett and Paramount recordings, the world's introduction to the spirited rhythm and inspired contrapuntal improvisation of New Orleans music, highlighted by the dual cornet breaks of Oliver and Armstrong. The CD also includes Armstrong's 1924 recordings with the Red Onion Jazz Babies, some matching him with Sidney Bechet, the wonderful soprano saxophone pioneer, and the classic blues singer Alberta Hunter. --Stuart Broomer ... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Lousy Sound -- Get "Complete Set"
You can hear from the Windows Media samples that the tracks have been filtered to death.A much more vibrant transcription of the same recordings is the wonderful "King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band: The Complete Set".

4-0 out of 5 stars Lively Leads & No Hiss
'Louis Armstrong And King Oliver' should be considered a preview of the Hot Fives & Sevens that was to come.Armstrong's first recordings with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band are more ensemble oriented.He's the second cornet to King Oliver's cornet.(The cornet was a predecessor to the modern trumpet.) The double cornet breaks make for some lively dancehall jazz. . . This one also has seven tracks from the Red Onion Jazz Babies.They hail from Armstrong's first stint in New York City. "Cake Walking Babies From Home" is some of the earliest magic that Armstrong put to wax.This version is worth the price of admission. . . The sound quality for these 1923/1924 recordings is terrific.The early 90's compact disc are a lot better than the 1980's cassette of this material. This release does justice to the early recorded work of Louis Armstrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential CD for any serious jazz collector
This CD belongs in any comprehensive jazz library, these are the historical and highly enjoyable sides that Louis Armstrong recorded with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, though on the CD Armstrong gets top billing, in reality King Oliver was the leader of these sessions which featured Armstrong as one of the sidemen, along with Lil Hardin on piano(the future Mrs. Armstrong, who would also record with Armstrong on his Hot Five & Seven sessions later in the 20's) these sides were originally released on 78's as King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.All the sideman get heatet solos(including Harding) Armstrong's and Oliver's solos are both hot and historicly important as being the 1st hot dixieland/New Orleans band to play it hot(not like Original Dixieland Jazzband).This innovative group was the finest at the time or anytime.Highly recomended. ... Read more

Asin: B000000XW1
Subjects:  1. Classic Jazz    2. Jazz    3. New Orleans Jazz    4. Pop   


The OKeh Ellington
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (26 March, 1991)
list price: $19.98 -- our price: $19.98
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Editorial Review

Digesting the music of Duke Ellington's revolutionary "jungle" period is a complicated pursuit because he recorded multiple arrangements for a number of labels between 1927 and 1932. Sony owns his OKeh and Columbia cuts (found on these two CDs), BMG owns his Victor sides, and Decca owns his Brunswick and Vocalion work (issued on the three-CD Early Ellington). All of them contain readings of standout compositions like "Black and Tan Fantasy," "East St. Louis Toodle-oo," "Black Beauty," "The Mooche," "Mood Indigo," and "Rockin' in Rhythm." The OKeh package lacks versions of "Solitude" and "Creole Love Call," but offers some noteworthy exclusives: superb solo stride-piano versions of "Black Beauty" and "Swampy River"; Jabbo Smith's wonderful trumpet solo on a 1927 version of "Black and Tan Fantasy" as a game-day replacement for "indisposed" co-composer Bubber Miley; and the first recording of "The Mooche," with Miley in control and guitarist Lonnie Johnson augmenting an already formidable lineup that includes Tricky Sam Nanton, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney, and Johnny Hodges. Even when a star like trumpet-growl pioneer Miley moved on, Cootie Williams would more than fill the gap. Musically, Ellington brought jazz to new levels of sophistication, complexity, and emotional depth during this first great period, synthesizing the classic New Orleans sound with a vibrant theatrical element and a dynamic rhythmic impulse. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great stuff!
I'm not a tremendous expert on Ellington's earlier material, but this CD set compares favorably with my old RCA 3-LP collection that covers nearly the same period. I love this stuff, even the silly novelty numbers and the middling tunes that sound like they belong on the soundtrack of a Betty Boop cartoon. The sound quality is good for recordings this old, and the booklet has plenty of info.

My only complaint is that some tunes show up a few too many times (there are *how many* versions of "East St. Louis Toodeloo" on here under various titles?!?), even if they have some significant differences - and I find I can only listen to one of the discs at a time before I burn out.

But this is just wonderful music, and a must for anybody interested in Ellington and/or early jazz.

Duke Ellington in my opinion, was the best composer and piano player since Scott Joplin. He was the man! Duke Ellington; that is. Duke's music was the cotton club's entertainment. After Duke went on to persue new avenues, Cab Calloway took over the cotton Club's entertainment. These songs on this CD are his early pieces, such as: The Mooche, with or without Baby Cox singing vocal. Sweet Mama, Black Beauty, Black & Tan Fantasy, and many more. Another jazz masterpiece for your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars absolutly essential for any true jazz fan

A JAZZ ESSENTIAL!! ... Read more

Asin: B00000274L
Subjects:  1. Big Band    2. Classic Jazz    3. Jazz    4. Orchestral Jazz    5. Pop    6. Swing   


Audio CD (19 November, 1996)
list price: $17.97
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Asin: B000001NL2
Sales Rank: 290537
Subjects:  1. Big Band    2. Classic Jazz    3. Swing   

Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (27 October, 1992)
list price: $24.98 -- our price: $24.98
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Editorial Review

Listening to this collection, recorded from 1925 to 1928 as Bessie Smith's popularity grew, one only wishes that the recording technology of the day were a match for Smith's incredible voice. Naturally, this two-disc set contains many of her classic recordings, including "Back Water Blues," "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair," "Lock and Key," "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," and "After You've Gone." This collection's also worth hearing for the backing musicians, who include Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson, Coleman Hawkins, and other luminaries of the day. To listen to Bessie Smith is to hear the blues unadulterated, and to understand what inspired so many contemporaries and later singers, from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more


  • Box set
Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The best set in the "complete" series
Bessie Smith, "Empress of the Blues," is largely known today because alcoholic blues-screamer Janis Joplin based her style on her.As a result, Bessie went from the province of the specialty collector to being a mainstream "blues" artist with almost as many imitators as the Beatles. (Elvis is a whole different galaxy.)In the year 2003, then, Bessie Smith - not Enrico Caruso - is the most-listened-to early recording artist.In a way this is good, since we went from a recreative artist to a very creative one; but this has also skewed our perspective on the blues-singing era.

Bessie had a huge, bronze voice of enormous expressivity and power.On some of these records, just listening to her delivery will send goosebumps down your spine.But truthfully, she only had one good octave in the voice, a deficiency she hid quite well by pitching her songs a certain way and then "playing around" with the notes so she didn't have to go too low (or, in some cases, too high).This is why other artists during this era were more highly prized by others.Bix Beiderbecke once threw $50 at his idol, Ethel Waters; Connee Boswell based her style on Mamie Smith (no relation); Alan Ginsburg preferred Bessie's mentor, Ma Rainey; and other singers and musicians like Ida Cox, Clara Smith and Victoria Spivey better.Bessie was a huge star and could hypnotize an audience, but she was NOT as universally admired as we now believe.

This compilation covers her best years, 1926-28, and has the highest percentage of excellent recordings.The sad thing is that no one- or two-disc compilation covers her best recordings.One can usually spot the "great" Bessie Smith records not just by how well her voice recorded but also by the fire and commitment of her delivery, and sometimes that happened in pop or show songs like "Squeeze Me," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town" (written by the Gershwin brothers and DuBose Heyward, NOT by "G. Brooks" as listed on the CD label!) or "At the Christmas Ball."Too many Bessie recordings (like too many female blues recordings in general) fall into the "my-man-done-beat-me-and-treat-me-like-dirt-but-I-love-him-anyway" category.

The shame of it is, Bessie's best recordings can be boiled down to three CDs, but no one has done this so far.Columbia's repackaging is both wasteful and expensive, allowing only 18 or 19 tracks per CD when they could have allowed 24 and done the whole project in 7 CDs instead of 10.The booklets are lavish, however, and include rare photos of some of Bessie's best accompanists, including the great cornetist Joe Smith and the elusive pianist Fred Longshaw. ... Read more

Asin: B0000027LB
Subjects:  1. Blues    2. Box Sets (Audio Only)    3. Classic Female Blues    4. Classic Jazz    5. Pop   


Bix Beiderbecke, Vol. 1: Singin' the Blues
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (05 January, 1990)
list price: $9.98 -- our price: $9.98
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Editorial Review

In jazz's childhood, Bix Beiderbecke was the only cornet player to rival Satchmo in terms of influence on other musicians and on the development of the genre. Armstrong's syncopated delivery, his blues shadings, his unique phrasing--in short, his swing--became, rightly so, the benchmark, the standard by which jazz improvisation was not only judged, but actually defined. In a way, Bix represented both a practical and symbolic alternative to Armstrong. Though he was completely self-taught and couldn't read music, Bix's tone was incredibly pure, full, and lush, and his style was cooler, more restrained (but not reserved), and more plaintive than Louis's hot, ebullient playing--even though his actual tone remained bright and his note choices forceful. All of these 20 cuts come from 1927, and many of them rank among the finest performances of that classic era nudged between Dixieland and swing. A key component of these successes is Frankie Trumbauer, a remarkably fluent and lyrical C-melody sax player who was Beiderbecke's close friend and musical kindred spirit. The septet cuts from February and May are uniformly excellent, but "Singin' the Blues" (featuring Eddie Lang's prominent single-string guitar support), "Riverboat Shuffle," "I'm Comin' Virginia," and "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" are astonishing landmarks in jazz history. Also worth noting are two trio cuts featuring Beiderbecke on piano supporting Trumbauer and Lang, and "In a Mist (Bixology)," a Bix piano solo full of bold, unorthodox melodies, harmonies, and rhythms. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Epitomizes Easy Listening
I've had this CD for a couple years now.I never tire of it.No matter what the circumstances of my life, I can't help but smile when I play this CD.If I'm feeling down Bix lifts me up.If I feeling good Bix helps me celebrate.I can think of no better recommendation.

This collection along with Vol 2, represents the cream of the crop of Beiderbecke's recording output and are an excellent introduction to him.They feature Beiderbecke along with a few other key personnel (Frankie Trumbauer, Adrian Rollini, etc.) and are amoung the best small group jazz recordings of the 1920's.Although Beiderbecke made several fine recordings with other groups such as Paul Whiteman, it is the small group recordings in these volumes that Beiderbecke is famous for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ahead Of His Time
Beiderbecke and Armstrong were the two giants of the horn in the '20s. Bix died too soon to have any great influence on other hornmen, but his music would live on in the "cool school" and "west coast" jazz of the '50s. His use of the whole tone scale, 9th and 13th notes and other improvisational skills would become part of the jazz scene in later years. This CD is a compilation of some of his greatest work. Singin the Blues and I'm Comin' Virginia are the first two jazz ballads recorded. ... Read more

Asin: B0000026WV
Subjects:  1. Classic Jazz    2. Jazz    3. New Orleans Jazz    4. Pop    5. United States of America   


Young Sidney Bechet
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (01 September, 1998)
list price: $16.97
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars armstrong discography
This is fascinating and important early jazz, with the two greatest of the early jazz musicians.The sound quality is sometimes difficult to listen to (hence less than 5 stars), even after the optimization by wizard-remasterer John R.T. Davies.Still, this music is important, not just for its glimpse into the beginnings of Bechet, but also because it completes the sequence of early Armstrong recordings available on CD.Armstrong's first recordings in sequence are as follows: 1) with Joe King Oliver 1923-1924, best represented in "King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band: The Complete Set" (John R.T. Davies remastered, Challenge label) => 2) with Fletcher Henderson 1924-1925, best represented in "Louis Armstrong with Fletcher Henderson: The Complete Recordings" (Johns R.T. Davies remastered, 3-CD set, Forte & Jazz Oracle label) => 3) with Clarence Williams Blue Five and Sidney Bechet (last 8 tracks of the CD listed here) in 1925 => 4) with Hot Five and Hot Sevens 1925-1929, best represented by JSP 4-CD set remastered also by Davies.To extend the line farther into Armstrongs turn toward Big Band, JSP also offers the next recordings in sequence as "The Big Band Recordings: 1930-1932", remasterd by John R.T. Davies.For those fascinated by early Armstrong, and his remarkable maturation during the few middle years of the 1920s, all of these CDs are a must.

5-0 out of 5 stars The First Recordings of a Titan
Sidney Bechet, master of the clarinet and soprano sax, was the greatest reed player in the New Orleans style, and one of the greatest in any style of jazz. This disk presents his first recordings, from 1923-1925. Bechet was 26 years old on the earliest tracks, and his style was fully formed. He was as great in 1923 as he would be three decades later, and his style never really changed.

Bechet's brilliance shone through the sonic limitations of these accoustical records, which are remastered beautifully here. He is featured mostly with the Clarence Williams Blue Five, using a traditional New Orleans instrumentation. There are instrumental numbers, as well as accompaniments for singers such as Sara Martin, Eva Taylor, and Alberta Hunter. These records were originally aimed at an African-American audience, and most tracks are blues numbers.

With one exception, the other musicians were merely compentent. The exception was Louis Armstrong, who is present on nine tracks, and was probably Bechet's only peer at the time. The tracks featuring Armstrong were landmarks in his discography as well as in Bechet's. The best tracks are "Wild Cat Blues," "Kansas City Man Blues," "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," "Texas Moaner Blues," and two astounding versions of "Cake Walking Babies From Home."

The music on this disk is essential. After these sessions, Sidney Bechet stayed out of the recording studios until 1931, and his brief stay in the nascent Duke Ellington Orchestra was unrecorded. ... Read more

Asin: B00000C28Y
Sales Rank: 181091

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