Thursday, January 27, 2011

armstrong again

I just can't get enough of this guy lately, especially the stuff he recorded during the 10-piece orchestra years around 1930, when he was at the peak of his creative power.

I just stumbled across this gem yesterday, immortalized on wax by Okeh Records in May of 1930: Exactly Like You.

By 1928 Armstrong realized that wherever he played and sang, he was the show, and he didn't really need to mess with running a group because it didn't make much difference who he played with. He decided to devote all his energies to marathon-style playing and singing, undistracted by leadership functions, and in 1928 began fronting Carroll Dickerson's 10-piece dance orchestra, leaving Dickerson in charge as musical director. The arrangement suited him; he made his greatest records with this combination in 1929 through '31.

You have to wonder when he found time to record. Starting in 1929 he worked in the pit Orchestra of the Broadway Show "Hot Chocolates," which he stole nightly with his vocalizing on Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'." Then, as soon as the show ended, he'd hurry off to Connie's Inn where he starred with Dickerson's orchestra. When Connie's closed for the night Armstrong put in one more shift, a late-night performance at the LaFayette Theatre, right next door at Seventh Avenue at 132nd Street.

His stamina and prolific output left a huge body of work for all to enjoy and some to revere.

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