Why is Louis Armstrong and King Oliver on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Old timey New Orleans jazz performed by true masters including a then young Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, and Jelly Roll Morton.
What does Louis Armstrong and King Oliver mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
This is a great album to throw on for an hour plus of old timey New Orleans jazz. Normally in these entries, I’ll parse through some of my favorite tracks but for this one I’ll encourage you to explore on your own. Here’s a great example, “Chimes Blues.”
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Louis Armstrong and King Oliver
New Orleans, Louisiana is an extraordinarily unique city in an age when a lot of cities and places in the world are starting to look and feel the same. There are many reasons New Orleans is so unique: the deep and unique history and mixing of cultures and languages, the easy going party culture, the parades, the incredible food, and then there’s the music.
It’s a city where music seems to be coming from everywhere at all times, and it always seems like music that was written and meant to be performed live (whenever possible) in New Orleans.
I’ve been fortunate to have visited New Orleans several times, and it occurs to me that each visit came at a pretty unique time in my life. The first, and most memorable, was during college for Mardi Gras. It was a classic “eight guys in a van” barreling down from the frozen lands of upstate New York to the warm bayou country of Louisiana, and subsequently sleeping (occasionally) in said van in between taking in the debauchery of Mardi Gras as one can only do during one’s college years.
One of my favorite memories of that visit involved my pal Nirav – who would later be my flat mate in England – and I deciding to take a break from the crowds and bars. We bought ourselves passage on the Mississippi Queen, a touristy boat that cruised around the Mississippi delta for a few hours with a tour guide at the helm. Here Nirav and I were, grungy from days of sleeping in the van, wearing the telltale Mardi Gras beads, with a bunch of well-scrubbed tourists eyeing us warily the entire voyage. We thought it was pretty funny.
My second visit was with my friend Adam (he, Nirav, and I all lived in England together for a spell as it turned out) during a five-week road trip of the South post-college. It was a brief, strange trip that involved the odd feeling of being on Bourbon Street on Christmas Eve. I also saw someone get mowed down in a hit-and-run that I’ll never forget. We also met two German girls who just happened to be au pairs in New York City, where Adam and I were living at the time. I dated one of them briefly upon our return to NYC.
Those two visits came pre-Hurricane Katrina, and I’ll note that my sole post-Katrina period, circa the late 2000s was a very different experience. New Orleans felt much smaller and much more reliant on tourism than I recalled. I’ve not been back in some years and hope the city and its people are continuing to recover. On that visit, my wife and I visited some old friends from the east coast who were living there at the time. We stayed in the Marigny, which is a fabulous neighborhood near the French Quarter. Perhaps I’ll relay more about that trip in a future entry.
Some stats & info about Louis Armstrong and King Oliver
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Jazz, New Orleans Jazz
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Louis Armstrong and King Oliver released? This is a tricky one. Spotify says 1992, and All Music says 1974. Meanwhile, the music was recorded in 1923 and 1924, and because this album does not at all match the music of the grunge generation nor the era that President Nixon got impeached, we’re gonna slot this one as a 1923 album.
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #910 out of 1,000
Louis Armstrong and King Oliver on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.