The Great American Songbook

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
While Louis Armstrong didn't invent jazz, he certainly shaped it in his own image, personalizing it, popularizing it, and giving it a template to follow into the modern age. He did this with his trumpet skills, obviously, joyously swinging and playing his way around melodies in breathtaking improvisations, but he also did it with his singing, which used a horn man's lexicon to slide, slur, and bend melodies into delightfully new and surprisingly natural shapes until it isn't difficult to say that American popular singing begins with Louis Armstrong. The 14 songs presented here, recorded in the wide span between 1929 and 1958, simply prove the point. Armstrong lifted songs...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
While Louis Armstrong didn't invent jazz, he certainly shaped it in his own image, personalizing it, popularizing it, and giving it a template to follow into the modern age. He did this with his trumpet skills, obviously, joyously swinging and playing his way around melodies in breathtaking improvisations, but he also did it with his singing, which used a horn man's lexicon to slide, slur, and bend melodies into delightfully new and surprisingly natural shapes until it isn't difficult to say that American popular singing begins with Louis Armstrong. The 14 songs presented here, recorded in the wide span between 1929 and 1958, simply prove the point. Armstrong lifted songs like "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (featured here in a 1956 live version from Chicago), "Stardust," and "Ain't Misbehavin'" (drawn from a 1947 performance at New York's Town Hall) from their Tin Pan Alley roots into the annals of classic American song, and he set the standard for how to sing and occupy a song on a personal level, literally inventing modern pop singing. It wasn't a matter of following a melody as written. Any reasonably able singer could do that. Armstrong, again using improvisational tools no doubt learned from his horn playing, bent the melody to other purposes, shortening it, lengthening it, syncopating it, and circling it until it shone far past its original shape, yet retained that shape as well, and this innovative, playful approach to singing has been aped by thousands of singers since until it is impossible to imagine modern pop or jazz singing without Armstrong's considerable influence. Listen to how he makes Hoagy Carmichael's "Lazy River" (the version presented here is from 1931) take unexpected turns and shifts, bending and rolling onward the way a real river would, never static or still but full of endless little variations in motion, always in sight of its original shape, but also changing down the length of its melody until it is possible to equate Armstrong's singing with a long, gliding, and improvised trumpet solo, the whole thing done with such warmth and joy that it uplifts even as much as it redefines and restructures. That's singing. That's jazz. That's Louis Armstrong. Oh, and he plays some pretty cool trumpet on these sides, too.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/5/2006
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 828767787824
  • Catalog Number: 77878
  • Sales rank: 385,446

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Louis Armstrong Primary Artist, Trumpet, Vocals
Lonnie Johnson Guitar
Paul Barbarin Drums
Eddie Condon Banjo
Bobby Hackett Cornet
Lionel Hampton Drums, Vibes
Budd Johnson Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Albert Nicholas Alto Saxophone
Bill Perkins Banjo, Guitar
Jack Teagarden Trombone, Vocals
Teddy Wilson Piano
Luis Russell Piano
Barrett Deems Drums
Bob Haggart Bass
Edmond Hall Clarinet
Mort Herbert Bass
Peanuts Hucko Clarinet
Trummy Young Vocals
Joe Bailey Bass, Tuba
Danny Barcelona Drums
Lester Boone Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Dick Cary Piano
Big Sid Catlett Drums
Pops Foster Bass
Luther Graven Trombone
Tubby Hall Drums
Henry Hicks Trombone
J.C. Higginbotham Trombone
Teddy Hill Tenor Saxophone
Les Hite Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Charlie Holmes Alto Saxophone
Preston Jackson Trombone
George James Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Keg Johnson Trombone
Marvin Johnson Alto Saxophone
Billy Kyle Piano
John Lindsay Bass
Castor McCord Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
"Big" Mike McKendrick Banjo, Guitar
Bill Oldham Bass
George Oldham Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
George Orendorff Trumpet
Yank Porter Drums
Henry Prince Piano
Zilner Randolph Trumpet
Harold Scott Trumpet
Arvell Shaw Bass
Bobby Holmes Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Ed Anderson Trumpet
Charlie Alexander Piano
Charlie Jones Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Ellis Whiutlock Trumpet
Albert Washington Jr. Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Theodore McCord Alto Saxophone
Scoville Johnson Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Technical Credits
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
George Avakian Producer
H. Brooks Composer
Will Friedwald Liner Notes
R.J. Jones Producer
Mitchell Parish Composer
Zilner Randolph Arranger
Bob Stephens Producer
Justin Ring Producer
Tommy Rockwell Producer
Woody Pornpitaksuk Mastering
Triana DOrazio Packaging Manager
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