Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy

Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy

Posted by leeshkay | Published a year ago

With 79 ratings

By: Louis Armstrong & His All Stars

Purchased At: $22.20 (13 used & new offers)

in the otherwise nicely published book is a severely-size reduced-shot of the rear enclosure of the original 12" LP... a PROPER way to have done this would have been to provide a 1:1 reproduction, folded within a thicker jewel case designed for such enclosures...this is a prime example of the penurious & or counter - creative SONY / CBS / COLUMBIA / A & R oafs when this was produced, and now, in 2018...the notes are nicely written...I wonder how that happened...no shipping damage, which is delightful...ambitious undertaking to locate & include the heretofore
missing sections!

- paris_williams

I bought this CD because I live in Alabama and give a speech on W. C. Handy around the state. In order to know Handy one must learn the musicians who interpret his sound, and no one does it better on the horn than Louis Armstrong.

- janelle_williams

I mean, just the first track alone, St. Louis Blues, makes this worth getting. Some of the other tracks don't shine quite as brightly, but St. Louis Blues, listened to on high volume, really punches hard. Armstrong's playing is loud an brash and perfect, Trummy on trombone sounds downright nasty, and Velma's vocals with her innuendos and Louis' chuckles are perfect as well. This is one of the greatest of Armstrong's "Louis Armstrong Plays..." albums, along with Satchmo Plays Fats. A must have!

- talon_turner

For sheer joy--to say nothing of its historical significance--this meeting of two of New Orleans' greatest is arguably unsurpassed. Thank God that Handy was still alive to hear what Armstrong did to his work--which, simply put, was to sprinkle it with magic. (The liner notes quote Handy as saying, during the recording sessions, that Satch's performances brought tears to his blind eyes.) The CD includes false starts and some rehearsals, which are in their own way delightful: The listener hears the artists' finished products as well as the work that it took to polish them to perfection. After the early Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, this is arguably the best of Pops on record. This is probably my desert island Armstrong disc; I cannot imagine its absence from any serious collection of this artist or, for that matter, from any serious jazz collection. Highest recommendation.

- paisley_hall

This album is one of the best recordings of any kind I have ever heard. Now I have thousands of recordings, write seriously about music, and have a lot of Louis, but this is one of those CDs that are simply hard to get out of the player. Forget about the historical significance of the recordings, the extras which include a few rehearsal cuts with the band getting itself ready, a fine excerpt from an interview with Handy, and a nice little joke--not necessarily one that could be told on network television--by Louis, and the well documented notes.

The sound here is great. It has some of the best of Louis's sound in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when despite the All-stars claims to reproduce the orginal pre-Swing sound of Armstrong's earlier groups, Louis shows the way he truly swung in both singing in playing far beyond the youthful athletics of the Chicago recordings. These blues swing so nice warm and easy, although some like his great recording of "The Saint Louis Blues" swing very hard. If you want to learn the basics of swing rhythm at a reasonable pace, I would advise listening to these recordings and trying to play along with them. (Of course, I would also recommend the great piano and rhythm section sides Basie cut to get out of his Decca Contract in the mid 1930s.)

There is something soooooo much more joyous about these recordings than any of Louis's recordings of these or similar tunes in the 1920s and 1930s. His voice and trumpet playing no longer strain but are sure of the mastery of the material. Both he and vocalist Velma Middleton seem to be really enjoying themselves with this material.

It must be stressed that Handy's real contribution was the combination of the Blues with the level of arrangement and composition that professional Black entertainers of his time--a time of a great explosion of both professional skill, knowledge, diversity of style, and polish--had obtained. His Blues including selections on this piece like "The St. Louis Blues" and "The Memphis Blues" and the immortal "Beale Street Blues" often combined Blues with all sorts of music popular at the time especially Ragtime, the reigning popular music of Handy's time in Memphis, with traces of Latin music like the habenero tango strain in the St Louis Blues. Yet, while quite willing to copyright these products of Black folk culture and create his own publishing business based on them (one of the first the realize the money in getting songs recorded as well as selling sheet music, Handy was insistent about the folk sources of his blues, as well as the fact that they were what Black folks demanded to dance to.

Getting Louis, himself a product of the generation that saw Jazz emerge as the child of the marriage of Blues and Ragtime given the tools of the high level of musicianship and formal musical knowledge consumated by Handy and his generation, to record these tunes was a stroke of Genius. You can hear Louis feeling happy and at home, but you can also hear a special reverence for the music, the time and the point of the music, as well how much BETTER the development of Jazz and Swing in the decades since Handy's days had made his ability to play these songs. It is no wonder that Handy himself cried tears of joy when he heard these recordings.

George Avakian who produced both the original recordings and the 1996 reissue on CD, spent about twenty years hunting down the best of the original recordings and takes, before rereleasing this really high quality recording.

A nice, wonderful, historic album that is pure joy and fun.

- jazmin_sanchez

This is one of the best albums ever recorded. On an album of standouts, "The Yellow Dog Blues" stands out. This is one of those albums, like the Ellington-Blanton-Webster recordings of 1940/42, the Parker-Gillespie Massey Hall Concert, The Birth of the Cool, the Art Tatum-Ben Webster recording, the Tadd Dameron - Milt Jackson - Ernie Wilkins "Big Bags" album, the Armstrong Teagarten Town Hall Concert, and perhaps a dozen or so others that are at the highest level of jazz joy.

- anders_alvarez

Bought as a gift for my son. Haven’t heard it but he loves it.

- luis_taylor

This is the best Louis Armstrong album I have ever heard. His playing is powerful and swings, and the music by Handy is classic great stuff.

- seth_perez

Back in the early twentieth century, a young composer by the name of W.C Handy was busy creating Blues with seminal songs such as St Louis Blues, made into a smash hit by Bessie Smith. At around the same time, a young cornet player by the name of Louis Armstrong was setting about redefining jazz. And when a trumpet player was required for Bessie Smith's recording of St Louis Blues, it was Armstrong who did the honours (for all you trivia lovers).

Wind forward thirty years. The two young men are now respected father figures in blues and jazz. Handy was one of the world's most successful blues composers, and Armstrong was the most famous and influential trumpet player in the history of jazz. Then someone at Columbia had the inspired idea of getting Armstrong and his all stars to record an album of Handy's songs. And to make it special, Handy was invited along to the recording (though he didn't feature on the original album).

The album belongs to Louis, with his great trumpet and vocals, though there are notable contributions from Armstrong stalwarts Velma Middleton on vocals and Trummy Young on Trombone. And, of course, none of it would have been possible without Handy's rather important contribution.

The musicians obviously have a great respect for the music, and, more importantly, seem to be having a great time playing it. This translates to us having a great time listening to it. We get loving, swinging treatments of classic blues tunes, St Louis Blues, Loveless Love, Long Gone, Beale Street, etc, etc. The band swings and mesh together beautifully. And Louis pulls out all the stops to turn in what has to be one of the finest performances he committed to record, probably spurred on by having the great man himself listening in.

This album has been nicely remastered to give a good clear sound, with every musician's contribution nice and clear and easy to hear. Also included are some interesting alternative takes, and the crowning glory, a newly discovered interview with Handy, where he talks about his impressions of Armstrong. The liner notes are informative, and there are some nice photographs.

An excellent presentation of a classic album. 5 stars, unhesitatingly. Recommended to fans of swinging jazz and blues. If you like this, check out the equally great `Satch Plays Fats', Louis next album where he pays tribute to Fats Waller

- edith_ramos

This 1954 "tribute" album to the master composer of the blues: W.C Handy features the All Stars in full flow.
I am really a Hot Fives / Hot Sevens fan, and can give Armstrong's "middle career of the thirties and forties" a miss, but he seemed to come alive again with the advent of the AllStars. Now in his fifties, Armstrong's command of the trumpet was top notch.
Despite his considerable musical ability (and inventiveness as witnessed by his work of the 'twenties) Armstrong never considered himself any more than an entertainer, and he did this "in spades" with the All Stars, and this fine album is testament to that.

- samira_alvarez

Back in 1960 when I was a student in Glasgow I bought this as an LP on the Philips label and listened endlessly to it (when I should have been better occupied studying) enjoying a festival of jazz that I had never experienced before. I was sure that it was lost forever when the LP finally wore out about 10 years ago. What a discovery with the bonus of the W C Handy interview and the practice sessions tagged on at the end. Now reliving my younger days of jazz in my dotage! Well worth an introduction to anyone who has not experienced true classical jazz...unfortunately everthing else afterwards will be a let-down.

- leonardo_long

I bought this on the basis of the reviews and was knocked out by the album.Surely it must rank amongst the very best Louis Armstrong albums.Captivating from start to finish and the music quality is as fresh as tomorrow. Simply can't beleive the price, please don't let it put you off it is worth far far more.

- avery_watson

Being relatively new to Jazz myself, the choice of Jazz albums seems staggering, even the number of Louis Armstrong CD's is daunting - but this is one of the best there is (the rather damning Penguin Jazz Guide review is based on an early reissue, this version of the original masters is worthy of a full 5 stars). The music is classic Armstrong playing combined with perfect Handy blues. If this CD inspires you (and at this price its got to be worth it), then try the Hot 5's and 7's box set for another taste of Armstrongs awesome vocal and musical abilities

- ada_lee

I liked the packaging, and the audio quality and timely delivery

- zayd_walker

No "Blues" for me following this excellent purchase. It more than lived up to my expectations, bonus tracks enlightening and I loved Louis joke

- lucas_hernandez

superb cd, excellent service, thank you! won't hesitate to shop here again

- reyna_evans

'Pops at his best! If you want to hear Louis Armstong [and the All Stars] at his best, give this album a spin you will not be disappointed.

- lylah_flores

This is quite simply one of the best recordings I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. I have heard many LPs over the years but this is fantastic, the quality of the recordings is matched by the wonderful playing and singing. The atmosphere is stunning and illustrates what is missing from today's music - performance, energy and humour. Also equally worth checking out is Satchmo's tribute to Fats waller, both albums are absolute classics!!!

- boston_collins

Louis Armstrong me parece un genial interprete y hasta donde le conozco también compositor, la tesitura de su voz es muy particular y bastante agradable para el género en mi opinión, y cuando se requiere variedad se hace acompañar en la voz por otros genios como Ella Fitzgerald y en el caso de este album de la también muy agradable Velma Middleton que acompañó una buena parte de su carrera a Armstrong.

Algunos de los temas contenidos aquí pueden hasta sonar familiares ya que seguro he oído instumentalización en algún dibujo animado o alguna otra película que contenga muestras de estas mismas canciones o incluso que aparezcan completas aunque fuera de manera instrumental.

Recomiendo buscar por servicios de streaming algunos de estos temas como Long Gone, Memphis Blues y Hesitating Blues para que, si no conocen el material contenido en este album, se den una buena idea de lo que contiene y porque vale tanto la pena.

La edición esta muuuy básica, eso sí con la funda de plástico resellable exterior que acostumbran las publicaciones de Music on Vinyl y con la funda interior de recubrimiento interno plástico para proteger en mejor manera el desliz del vinilo al extraerlo y volverlo a guardar evitando que se talle en papel u otros materiales abrasivos que se usan a veces en fundas internas. La portada es lo más carente a lo que me refiero cuando digo básica porque no es gatefold y es de un material bastante delgado. Fuera de eso me parece bien impresa y pues con un cuidado regular no tiene porque dañarse tomando en cuenta la funda exterior plástica resellable que se 'incluye' además de que es vinilo de 180grs para darle menor riesgo a deformaciones, también considerando que es un material posiblemente virgen de muy bajo o nulo ruido superficial al estar mayormente libre de residuos e impurezas propias del reciclaje que se usa en algunos discos.

Si esta a buen precio (en mi opinión rondando los 15 dólares) es muy buen material discográfico y lo recomiendo ampliamente tanto por la composición, los interpretes como por la producción en físico del material ya que sería muy buen valor.

- erika_cruz

La grabación es excelente, como si lo hubieran hecho en este año 2020. Todos los instrumentos son claros, los bajos profundos y las trompetas (características de W.C. Handy) se escuchan como si tuvieras a Louis Armstrong en frente. Altamente recomendada esta joya.

- trace_walker


- moses_howard

George Avakian が再度企画した Satchimo plays W.C.Handy ですが(オリジナルは1954.7.13 日に収録)、新たに発掘された-価値あるボ-ナストラックが付け加えられています(1996年)。
先ずは <<Avakian 自信がインタビュ-している Handy の肉声>>収録はこのCDのみでしょう。更に、<<収録時ののリハ-サルの様子>> Loveless Love のキイの話にはじまり、最後の Long Gone では全員参加でアレンジ・スタイル構築と、普通には聴かれない裏側をかいま見させてくれます。Handy & Satchimo のスナップ・ポ-トレイトも素敵です。

- phoenix_ortiz

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