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Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings by Brian Harker (review)

Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings by Brian Harker (review) Book Reviews 517 Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings. Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz. By Brian Harker. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-19-538840-4 (pbk.) Pp. xxii; 186. $16.95. Despite its title, this slender little book is not really a comprehensive study of Armstrong’s seminal recordings made between November 1925 and July 1928. Rather, Brian Harker is concerned with what he considers seven exceptional, though not necessarily representative, recordings treated in chronological order: “Cornet Chop Suey”; “Big Butter and Egg Man”; “Potato Head Blues”; “S.O.L. Blues” and its twin, “Gully Low Blues”; “Savoy Blues”; and “West End Blues.” These recordings comprise the six key chapters of the book—“S.O.L. Blues” and “Gully Low Blues” share a chapter—all treated in pointed detail within the con- text of making a living in the competitive environment of vaudeville and show business. In the process, Harker brings the specific stylistic traits and technical principles that drive each of these pieces into sharp focus, making telling com- parisons with related recordings. And because his primary goal is to illustrate how 1920s jazz was transformed from being an ensemble-based to a solo-based music, Harker concentrates on Armstrong’s cornet and trumpet solos rather than http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings by Brian Harker (review)

American Music , Volume 30 (4) – Aug 4, 2013

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

Book Reviews 517 Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings. Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz. By Brian Harker. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-19-538840-4 (pbk.) Pp. xxii; 186. $16.95. Despite its title, this slender little book is not really a comprehensive study of Armstrong’s seminal recordings made between November 1925 and July 1928. Rather, Brian Harker is concerned with what he considers seven exceptional, though not necessarily representative, recordings treated in chronological order: “Cornet Chop Suey”; “Big Butter and Egg Man”; “Potato Head Blues”; “S.O.L. Blues” and its twin, “Gully Low Blues”; “Savoy Blues”; and “West End Blues.” These recordings comprise the six key chapters of the book—“S.O.L. Blues” and “Gully Low Blues” share a chapter—all treated in pointed detail within the con- text of making a living in the competitive environment of vaudeville and show business. In the process, Harker brings the specific stylistic traits and technical principles that drive each of these pieces into sharp focus, making telling com- parisons with related recordings. And because his primary goal is to illustrate how 1920s jazz was transformed from being an ensemble-based to a solo-based music, Harker concentrates on Armstrong’s cornet and trumpet solos rather than

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Aug 4, 2013

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