Thursday, August 04, 2011

Celebrating Satchmo #jazz

Though he broke down many cultural and creative barriers, Louis Armstrong was much more than a pioneer. He was a virtuoso, an icon and arguably the first superstar of jazz. For his birthday (Aug. 4th marks his 110th) and to celebrate his life, Concord Music Group is highlighting some of his greatest works -- Mack the Knife, Live at the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival, and Louis Armstrong With King Oliver.

These three albums give a nice sampling of Armstrong's ability. Both Mack The Knife and 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival are live performances, captured just one year apart. Filled with standards made unique by his horn and vocals, the collections show why Armstrong was able to break racial barriers with his music -- his arrangements on classics like "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Mack The Knife" were flawless and infectious.

Louis Armstrong & King Oliver (originally released as King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band) finds the artist paired with another pioneer, Joe "King" Oliver. King, a cornet player and bandleader, mentored Armstrong and helped shape the trumpeter's sound. Recorded in 1923 and '24, this set of songs plays like a fascinating musical documentary in the roots of jazz and features a young Armstrong as a band member on cornet.

Check out these titles and join Concord in celebrating Louis Armstrong's integral part in music history.

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