Louis Armstrong, The Majestic Years

Kevin Whitehead

By Kevin Whitehead

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Pops changed everything: taught us all what it means to swing, to rock, to make pop music move. His biting, staccato trumpet style influenced every jazz instrumentalist, but the Western swing steel players dug him too, so he grandfathered the electric guitar solo. Armstrong's wordless scatting and way of teasing a melody founded jazz singing, but he's also first in the gravel-voiced line of Howlin 'Wolf, Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits. For listeners now, the sound on these '20s and '30s recordings can take some getting used to, but Armstrong's sheer magnetism is bound to pull you in.