Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hip-O Select Reissues

The Hip-O label has specialized in multi-disc reissue packages focusing on particular aspects of an artists career. Their Select series provides well done packaging with re-mastered music and extensive liner notes and photographs.

Louis Armstrong - Hello Louis: The Hit Years (1963-1969) By the mid 1960's, trumpeter Louis Armstrong had already had a career and a half. Beginning with his rise to prominence with the legendary Hot Fives and Hot Sevens to his recordings with big bands and all star groups, Armstrong remained active. But by the 1960's, the whole musical landscape had changed, rock and roll music had upended the pop music world, and jazz had evolved through bebop, hard bop, free jazz and beyond. But Armstrong, ever canny, changed with the times and had some of his most popular records ever during this period. The most well known is the #1 hit "Hello Dolly" and ever popular "What a Wonderful World" which rely on Armstrong's completely unique singing voice for their impact. For the majority of this collection, his voice takes precedence over trumpet playing, whether on popular songs or jazz standards, but considering Armstrong had perhaps the most unique singing voice in jazz it works quite well. Often tracks are filled out with string arrangements that can be rather onerous, but the charm and guile of Armstrong comes through regardless of the setting. Hello Louis: The Hit Years 1963-1969 - amazon.com

Dinah Washington: The Fabulous Miss D! The Keynote, Decca and Mercury Singles (1943-1953) Although singer Dinah Washington had a star-crossed life and career, her early singles had massive success and influence on singers and performers to come and make for the majority of this collection. She recorded a wide range of material in addition to blues and jazz standards that were aimed for the jukebox and singles market. But it's the blues and jazz material that has the biggest impact from the charming version of Fats Waller's classic "Ain't Misbehavin'" to the low down darkness of "Evil Gal Blues." She has an excellent roster of sidemen accompanying her on these sides, but the short nature of the format keeps the instrumental solos and breaks to a minimum. The Fabulous Miss D: The Keynote, Decca, & Mercury Singles 1943-1953 - amazon.com

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