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Hot Fives & Sevens Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 26, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's unanimous among the jazz guides that these Satchmo sides are indispensable for every jazz collector, and these John R.T. Davies remasters are absolutely tops: Muskrat Ramble; Wild Man Blues; Potato Head Blues; Twelfth Street Rag; Struttin' with Some Barbecue; Basin Street Blues 89 essentials!

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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. My Heart
  2. Yes! I'm in the Barrel
  3. Gut Bucket Blues
  4. Come Back Sweet Papa
  5. Georgia Grind
  6. Heebie Jeebies
  7. Cornet Chop Suey
  8. Oriental Strut
  9. You're Next
  10. Muskrat Ramble
  11. Don't Forget to Mess Around
  12. I'm Gonna Gitcha
  13. Droppin' Shucks
  14. Who' Sit
  15. He Likes It Slow
  16. King of the Zulus
  17. Big Fat Ma and Skinny Pa
  18. Lonesome Blues
  19. Sweet Little Papa
  20. Jazz Lips
  21. Skid-Dat-De-Dat
  22. Big Butter and Egg Man
  23. Sunset Cafe Stomp
  24. You Made Me Love You
  25. Irish Black Bottom

Disc: 2

  1. Willie the Weeper
  2. Wild Man Blues
  3. Chicago Breakdown
  4. Alligator Crawl
  5. Potato Head Blues
  6. Melancholy Blues
  7. Weary Blues
  8. Twelfth Street Rag
  9. Keyhole Blues
  10. S.O.L. Blues
  11. Gully Low Blues
  12. That's When I'll Come Back to You
  13. Put 'Em Down Blues
  14. Ory's Creole Trombone
  15. Last Time
  16. Struttin' With Some Barbecue
  17. Got No Blues
  18. Once in a While
  19. I'm Not Rough
  20. Hotter Than That
  21. Savoy Blues

Disc: 3

  1. Fireworks
  2. Skip the Gutter
  3. Monday Date
  4. Don't Jive Me
  5. West End Blues
  6. Sugar Foot Strut
  7. Two Deuces
  8. Squeeze Me
  9. Knee Drops
  10. Symphonic Raps
  11. Savoyagers' Stomp
  12. No, Papa, No
  13. Basin Street Blues
  14. No One Else But You
  15. Beau Koo Jack
  16. Save It, Pretty Mama
  17. Weather Bird
  18. Muggles
  19. Hear Me Talkin' to Ya?
  20. St. James Infirmary
  21. Tight Like This
  22. Knockin' a Jug

Disc: 4

  1. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
  2. Mahogany Hall Stomp
  3. Ain't Misbehavin'
  4. Black and Blue
  5. That Rhythm Man
  6. Sweet Savannah Sue
  7. Some of These Days
  8. Some of These Days
  9. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)
  10. When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)
  11. After You've Gone
  12. Ain't Got Nobody
  13. Dallas Blues
  14. St. Louis Blues
  15. Rockin' Chair
  16. Song of the Islands
  17. Bessie Couldn't Help It
  18. Blue Turning Grey over You
  19. Dear Old Southland
  20. Rockin' Chair
  21. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Jsp Records
  • ASIN: B00001ZWLP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,106 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. D. Tutt on November 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This four disc set is indispensable to any serious jazz collection. It includes all Armstrong's classic Hot Five performances with Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds, Johnny St. Cyr and Lil Armstrong, his Hot Seven recordings, and his magnificent partnership with Earl Hines. This is some of the most important and influential jazz every recorded, marking the way ahead away from New Orleans style polyphony to the future dominance of the soloist. The last of these discs is the least essential, as Armstrong returned to commercial big band recordings, where he is often head and shoulders above both his colleagues and his material.
There is so much to savour on these discs: Louis is superlative throughout this set - hear "Cornet Chop Suey" "Potato Head Blues" and "West End Blues", in particular. Johnny Dodds is superb, incredibly impassioned on "Got No Blues" and elsewhere. The Hot Five swings like crazy on tunes like "Once in a While", and listen to "Skip the Gutter", "Muggles" and "Weatherbird" to hear one of the finest partnerships in jazz history, Armstrong and Hines. Hear also Lonnie Johnson's marvellous guitar playing at the end of the second disc. Louis' singing is heard regularly (and his slide - whistle playing once).
These CDs are also highly recommendable because of the quality of the remastering. The sound quality on the first disc in particular is better than in any other issue of these works, putting larger companies to shame.
These are recordings to hear for a lifetime. No-one buying these will ever regret it.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to this music for sixty years, from wax to LP and CD, and through all known versions, and JSP's is the clearest ever, even better than the French LPs of years past. What's best, aside from the tone of Louis's horn, which is captured as if you stand outside his livingroom window with the window open, is that the surrounding instruments now have a timbre and immediacy that raises them from dullishness. These truly are musicians seeking great tone. Kid Ory's trombone is freshly poured wine. And what delight when Earl Hines's sophisticated fingering replaces Lil Hardin's workaday piano. To be sure, on the first two or three records, the bell of Louis's cornet is too close to the mike and rather blurry. Then he stands back and his tone comes into focus. Also the engineering improves. You may think you know these records, say from the muzzy Columbia set, but you don't. This is dying and going to heaven where the Hot Fives and Sevens are recording just for you. Incidentally, Louis's lyrics are understandable throughout where once one simply had to guess at what the words were. All told, thrilling, and at this price unbelievable---money found on the street. Do not wait for the Ken Burns's version which Columbia is issuing to go with his 19-hour jazz historical on PBS. It can't be better than this.
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Simply put, these are the most important popular recordings of the 20th century. They paved the way for not only jazz, but popular music in general. A note to those who haven't yet purchased any of Satchmo's Hot Fives or Sevens --THIS package is the one to get! Avoid the recordings on Columbia, which did a disgraceful job of remastering. I doubt Columbia's new box set coming out this month will be much better. These JSPs are so superior to the Columbias that they sound almost like completely different recordings. One customer's review, complaining about poor sound quality, is absurd. Obviously, he doesn't listen to much pre-Beatles music. The sound is excellent for the times. [...] Buy it -- it will be the greatest thing in your collection.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This special priced set has all the recordings of Louis Armstrong with his Hot Fives and Sevens. I had them all on LP and considered them the pinnacle of my music collection, and the pinnacle of 20th century music in general.
These recordings feature Armstrong in a period when his trumpet playing received more attention than his singing. He did sing beautifully - as heard on "I am not Rough", "Gully Low Blues" etc. But the trumpet does lead the way. The trumpet on "Tight like That", "West End Blues", "Potatoe head Blues" - what a musical genius it took to produce such music !!! I feel that these recordings have the power to change people's whole view of life - it certainly changed mine.
There are guest appearances by the great blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, great clarinet from Johnny Dodds, great piano work by Earl Hines, great ensamble playing. I use the word "great" here without fear of misuse - everything here is truly great.
People who are used to Armstrong's later work - Hello Dolly, Blueberry Hill - might need some time to get used to these 1920's recordings. I strongly advise them to make the effort - because the rewards are fantastic.
All tracks are great. I do feel like singling out "Tight like That", "West End Blues", "Potato head blues", "Muggles"
"Mahagoney Hall Stomp", "Cornet Chop Suey", "Hotter Than That"...
I play them to my 4 years old child and she loves it !
The historic importance of these recordings has been correctly mentioned by others. But what it really comes down to is that here is a gift to humanity that we should all share and enjoy.
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