Louis Armstrong: Tin Roof Blues


Tin Roof Blues


Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars


California Concerts (Decca 613)

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Louis Armstrong (trumpet), Trummy Young (trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Billy Kyle (piano), Arvell Shaw (bass), Barrett Deems (drums).

Composed by Paul Mares, George Brunies, Leon Roppolo, Mel Stitzel, Ben Pollack & Walter Melrose


Recorded: Crescendo Club, Los Angeles, January 21, 1955


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

In his spoken introduction to "Tin Roof Blues", Louis Armstrong tells the crowd at Los Angeles' Crescendo Club that the song was made famous by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (correct), a group that was organized in Chicago (technically correct, but all of the main horn players were from New Orleans), and that they were before Louis' time "believe it or not". The last point is definitely correct as the NORK recorded "Tin Roof Blues" a month before Louis made his first records with King Oliver. In revisiting this jazz classic, Armstrong gave his fellow All-Stars a chance for some relaxed blowing on an old favorite. The All-Stars version follows the NORK's in its arrangement, with solos by trombone and clarinet between theme statements, and if there are a few attempts at "entertainment", it must be remembered that the All-Stars aimed for a wider audience than just jazz fans. There's nothing terribly gimmicky about anything that's played here, but one suspects (especially from hearing the verbal encouragements by the other band members) that these solos were probably worked out in advance and played the same at every show. The slow-drag feeling established by Barrett Deems and the growling trombone of Tyree Glenn did not create as elegant of a performance as the original NORK recording, but taken on its own, it is a fine version of a Dixie standard.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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