Louis Armstrong, Hot Fives and Sevens

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 05.21.12 in Reviews

Jazz as we know it starts here, not with a history lesson but with a celebration. Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven were studio bands with shifting membership; between 1925 and 1928, they recorded a pile of tracks that were built around Armstrong’s improvisational genius, refining New Orleans-style jazz into thrilling three-minute inventions. Armstrong plays trumpet and cornet, and occasionally unleashes his candy-gravel voice — “Heebie Jeebies” might be the first recorded example of scat singing. This box is filled out by 1928-30 recordings that built on the success of the Hot Fives and Sevens and are just about as much fun.