Columbia/Legacy's JAZZ MOODS series, which compiles recordings by jazz artists organized around a certain theme, seems designed, in general, to help create atmosphere. The HOT installment featuring trumpeter/vocalist Louis Armstrong certainly does create a mood, and the music it contains is undoubtedly "hot" (in the way that term is used to describe a style of up-tempo, danceable jazz). But this particular disc is also an excellent sampler of what are arguably Armstrong's greatest recordings.
JAZZ MOODS: HOT selects 14 tracks from the sessions Armstrong cut with his Hot Fives and Sevens (the tracks are also available on single-disc compilations and in the boxed set THE COMPLETE HOT FIVE & HOT SEVEN RECORDINGS). Much has been said and written about these works, and it is generally agreed that they laid the foundation for the form, style, and spirit of jazz. Instrumentals like "Potato Head Blues" and "Cornet Chop Suey" dazzle, while the vocal numbers amuse (even as they invent a new, conversational form of singing). Each Armstrong performance is an example of economy, wit, technical prowess, and creativity that still stuns and inspires.
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