Your NPR news source

Louis Armstrong's Supreme Masterpiece

SHARE Louis Armstrong's Supreme Masterpiece

Eighty years ago this month, Louis Armstrong was in a Chicago recording studio with his band the Hot Five. They laid down this version of the King Oliver composition, “West End Blues.” It's been called Armstrong's “supreme masterpiece,” and, “The Big Bang for modern Jazz.” Famed conductor Gunther Schuller devoted five pages to it in his seminal book “Early Jazz.” And classical music textbooks put Armstrong's “West End Blues” alongside Beethoven symphonies. Today we wish a Happy Birthday to the recording – born in Chicago – that changed music forever.

More From This Show