Louis Armstrong West End Blues: The Birth of Modern Jazz
Everyday, somewhere, a trumpet or cornet player tries to render an emulation of Louis Armstrong playing the West End Blues. West End Blues is one of the most famous recordings in the history of jazz for the following reasons: 1) Armstrong’s introduction showed how dazzling his skills as a trumpeter were; 2) he laid the groundwork for jazz soloists to be considered true artists, the same as musicians in other styles of music and; 3) the recording introduced Earl Hines as the first real jazz pianist, who was Armstrong’s equal in creative musical thought.
West End Blues” is a multi-strain 12 bar blues composition by Joe “King” Oliver. It is most commonly performed as an instrumental. King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopates made the first recording of the tune for Brunswick Records on June 11, 1928. By far the most well known recording of “West End Blues” is the 3-minute-plus, 78 RPM record recording made by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five in 1928, considered one of the masterpieces of early jazz. Louis Armstrong plays trumpet (and does some relaxed scat singing) backed by a band that included the pianist Earl Hines. In an eight-bar trumpet solo near the end of the record, Armstrong played a solo considered among the finest recordings in jazz history.