Recent listening, current

Monday, January 21, 2013

10. Louis Armstrong All-Stars / Live at the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival (2007)

Thankfully, the editors retained the live banter between songs. Louis had a running routine, so the talk is integral to the concert. Of course, it's entertaining, too, whether a poke about Bing Crosby in Technicolor, or an anecdotal alligator. On this night, both band and crowd are having a ball, and when I crank up the volume, I feel like I'm right there with them. Musically, like a dancing haystack, the All-Stars have a knack for being the tightest and loosest group around. They play everything with a freewheeling abandon that shuffles along gloriously, as if it any moment it might burst apart. The show consists of chestnuts: from the obligatory "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" and "(Back Home Again In) Indiana," to "Perdido," and "Autumn Leaves." It wouldn't be Pops without "Tiger Rag," either, which is played with a loose claptrap fueled by Danny Barcelona stomping on the drums. A lot was changing for jazz in 1958, so hearing a statesman like Louis at the height of his powers is a pretty special experience. 

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