Louis Armstrong: A Monday Date
A Monday Date
Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Sony Legacy 57175)
Fred Robinson (trombone), Jimmy Strong (tenor sax, clarinet), Mancy Carr (banjo).
Composed by Earl Hines & Sydney Robin.
Recorded: Chicago, IL, July 27, 1928
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
"Hey - say, say, say, Earl Hines – Why don't you let us in on some of that good music, Pops?" inquires Louis Armstrong at the top of this classic track.
"Well, c'mon, yeah – let's get together then," replies Hines, and in this seemingly matter-of-fact moment of friendly collaboration, the utterly inseparable relationship between the soloist/leader and his or her rhythm section is forever illuminated. Yes, even Louis needed a rhythm section to "let him in."
The music commences with a surprisingly odd 5-measure cymbal/woodblock break from Zutty Singleton (a 4-measure break and one measure of half-notes to bring in the band). Zutty reappears during Armstrong's solo, and then for a concluding 4-measure break that relates to but not does not duplicate his introductory statement. Zutty's presentation of these essential, minimal rhythms can be heard in the vocabulary of every subsequent jazz drummer, from Jo Jones to Roy Haynes to Tain Watts.
While it's always easy to glance over the banjoist, Mancy Carr's playing is a bit more nuanced than one may think on first listen. He carefully chooses accents that fit between Hines's comping to add an essential driving force to the track.
The rhythm section highlight here, to no one's surprise, is Hines himself, whose pre-dialogue introduction, pre-verse piano break, post-Armstrong-solo break, and stride comping under trombone, clarinet and trumpet solos are models for all future pianists. Note how Hines's style greatly varies when he's executing a solo break as opposed to his insightful playing behind a vocalist or instrumentalist. Early jazz interaction at its finest.
Reviewer: Eric Novod