PEREŁKA, ISTNY CUD!
One of the most important events in the history of jazz took place on a hot July afternoon in 1922. Twenty-two-year-old Louis Armstrong was playing in a parade with the Tuxedo Brass Band in his native New Orleans that afternoon when he received a telegram from the man who had been his mentor a few years earlier — Joe Oliver, the crusty, brilliant cornetist whose place in the jazz world of that day was implicit in the billing he always received, "King Oliver." The telegram asked young Louis to join Oliver's celebrated Creole Jazz Band in Chicago, a band which was then generally accepted as the best jazz band in existence. Armstrong leapt at the opportunity, took off for Chicago immediately and for the next two years Louis and Oliver formed the most brilliant two-horn team the jazz world has ever heard. Such a great album, as this one is, deserves the Analogue Productions reissue treatment. Remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tape, the 200-gram super-silent pressing from Quality Record Pressings showcases the sound better than it's ever been heard before. The premium vinyl is topped off with a tip-on style jacket from Stoughton Printing. This record is Louis' tribute to the man who helped shape his trumpet style back in New Orleans and whose invitation to join his band in Chicago put him in the spotlight which has shone on him ever since. There is a heck of a lot of good music on this all-star album. The songs are tunes either written by King Oliver, or tunes that Oliver played. "St. James Infirmary" is taken at an incredibly slow and eerie pace, and when Louis comes back to repeat the main theme at the end, the effect is breathtaking. Louis sings a charming version of "Frankie And Johnny" accompanied only by an old-time honky tonk piano. "Jelly Roll Blues" is a beautiful take on the Jelly Roll Morton Classic. "Chimes Blues" is deep and bluesy return to the tune Oliver and Armstrong first recorded way back in 1923. The title "Old Kentucky Home" may seem out of place, but musically the song fits right in, and when Louis prompts his band to sing along with him for a chorus, the result is rather touching. "Panama Rag" is a joyous up-tempo romp, and "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of This Jelly Roll" is pure Satchmo fun, with Louis not in the mood to "give nobody none to save their soul." There is a good amount of straight-up blowing on this album, and the recordings have a more informal feel than Armstrong's other two "plays" albums — Plays W.C. Handy and Satch Plays Fats. Recorded at Radio Recorders Studio in Hollywood, Calif. over three days at the end of September and the beginning of October, 1959.