Louis Armstrong -- "Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings" – Columbia – 2000
The patron saint of New Orleans music, the man with a horn that could match the Archangel Gabriel, not only a New Orleans musical icon, but an American musical maestro. Of all of the great musicians that hail from New Orleans, and there are countless masters, none can match Louis Armstrong; in many ways, he is the source; it all flows from his beautiful, beautiful horn and delightfully raspy voice.
That said, finding that one Armstrong recording presented quite the challenge. These recordings were cut in Chicago and New York from 1925 through 1929, as Satchmo, in his mid-twenties, has left New Orleans is beginning to emerge from shadow of his mentor and idol King Oliver. He comes out from these recordings to become a giant in music.
Armstrong’s prowess and power and virtuosity are undeniable, but his band for these recording is also second to none. “The personnel now reads like a who’s who at the big bang of traditional jazz: Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Johnny St. Cyr, Earl Hines, Jimmy Noone. They all put this music on the map,” said C. Michael Bailey in his review for All About Jazz.
From a technological side -- these recordings were started only eight years after the first jazz recording, the musical form is in its infancy and at the height of its popularity – the recordings initiate a move away from acoustic recordings to electronic recording.
Ground breaking material in the fabric of American music, Armstrong’s genius is fully flowering on these recordings.