From the Record Shelves #102

Have Your Chill, I’ll Be Here When Your Fever Rises

LP Classic Jazz Masters/Riverside RM 8811

I think that this was the first record with Louis Armstrong that I bought. Meanwhile, you could turn on the radio and hear his hit Hello Dolly. But it was this early version of the man that I wanted, and it was good to start from the beginning.

Louis came from his hometown New Orleans to join King Oliver in Chicago in 1922. Now a couple of years later his skills and growing fame had brought him further to New York where he was employed by Fletcher Henderson. There he also started to be an accompanist to blues singers.

Behind the vaudeville couple Coot Grant and Wesley Wilson his playing is marvelous on four tracks. Yes, he is in the background but with big sensitive ears I could easily distinguish him in the ensemble. In fact, he is playing the melody while the singers depart from it in a half speaking manner. He is playing quite soft with confidence and tranquility, full rhythmic command and his register is wide, the tone very warm. To tell the truth, I appreciate his playing on this session as much as anything that he did later when he went on to become synonymous with jazz.