5.0 out of 5 stars
When Jazz became art in the horn of the first Jazz Giant, Jun 6 2003
This JSP selection of 89 tracks comprehensively captures Louis Armstrong's Hot 5 and 7s groups period in the 1920s. During this period, Louis Armstrong's virtuoso trumpet playing led the way for the transformation of the emerging music called Jazz from a primitive entertainment into a transcendent art. Apart from possessing great technical skill and a rhythmic sense ahead of his time, Armstrong exuded an infectious joy in his playing that somehow transported the listener into a sense of beauty and wonder. It is happy, uplifting music.
The sound of the set is clear for material recorded in the 1920s. Certain elements such as the simple piano rhythms and Kid Ory's non-stop trombone comping in Discs 1 and 2 may seen anachronistic to the modern post-bebop taste, but the datedness is dispelled the moment Mr Armstong blows his horn. I found Disc 3 to contain the best tracks of the lot, where Louis found in pianist Earl Hines a musical partner with a more modern rhythmic sensibility. The standout of the set is the classic, lyrical "West End Blues", with Armstrong's showstopping trumpet intro. All in all, The Hot Fives & Sevens JSP Box set is a good buy if you're a jazz fan or someone able to appreciate good music wherever it may be found.