Louis Armstrong: Heebie Jeebies
Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
Louis Armstrong: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Sony/Legacy 57175)
Recorded: Chicago, February 26, 1926
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Photo by Herb Snitzer
“Heebie Jeebies” is a typically rambling Hot Five performance with pedantic ensemble, some wrong notes and chord problems. So why is it a must for any introductory course on jazz and why the high ranking here? The answer is: Armstrong’s pioneering scat singing during his second vocal chorus, of course. But Armstrong's first chorus is equally striking -- he sings with such naturalness that this alone would ensure the disk's reputation as a timeless performance. He sails from one chorus into the other and it is all of a piece; the scat-singing is just one more delightful ingredient. He is accompanied solely by St. Cyr’s rhythmic six-string banjo and without competing chords the performance really takes off. Incidentally, the first known scat singing on record was done by vaudevillian Gene Greene in 1909.
Reviewer: David Sager