Wednesday, July 13, 2016

West End Blues

Recorded by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five on June 28, 1928, it's considered the first modern jazz recording.  What was particularly revolutionary was Armstrong's horn solo at the beginning.  Until this time, most jazz bands would play a melody and then improvise together in a middle section.  West End Blues was the birth of the jazz soloist.  Also innovative is Armstrong's scat singing in the middle of the song.

Composed a few weeks earlier by King Oliver, the song was named for New Orleans' West End, a picnic and entertainment area.  Early in his career Armstrong had played in Oliver's band and King was a great influence on him.

The Hot Five consisted of Fred Robinson (trombone), Jimmy Strong (clarinet), Earl Hines (piano), Mancy Cara (banjo) and Zutty Singleton (drums).

For more on the wonderful Louis Armstrong read Pops.

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