Louis Armstrong: Shine




Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals)


An American Original (American Legends 100121)

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Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals), Lionel Hampton (drums, vibes), Les Hite (alto sax, baritone sax),

Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals), George Orendorff, Harold Scott (trumpets), Luther “Sonny” Craven (trombone), Marvin Johnson (alto sax), Charlie Jones (clarinet, tenor sax), Henry Prince (piano), Bill Perkins (banjo, guitar), Joe Bailey (bass, tuba)


Composed by Lew Brown, Ford Dabney & Cecil Mack


Recorded: Los Angeles, March 9, 1931


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Historians still debate what turned a 1920s Jazz Giant into a 1930s vaudevillian. Did profiteering white gangsters convert him at gunpoint into Uncle Tom? Was Louis's lip ruined by too many high C's topped by an F above the melting point of tungsten? Or did Armstrong, heady with success and coveting super- stardom, willingly conspire? Whatever the explanation, Satchmo's "Shine" so cheerfully catalogs sundry "chocolate drop" stereotypes—curly hair, pearly teeth, shady color—that Hollywood rewarded him with leopard-skin livery in A Rhapsody in Black and Blue (1932). Evidently Uncle Tom's tuxedo had been repossessed. But Louis at least set the fashion standard for Fred Flintstone.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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  • 1 Jamie White // Jun 07, 2009 at 05:30 PM
    I've put a history of the song up today.