Louis Prima: Swing It! - His 53 Finest 1933-1960
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An exuberant collection of the best of Louis Prima (1911-1978), this hugely entertaining pair of CDs shows just why he was one of the favourite entertainers of the last century. New Orleans-born Prima, the son of Italian immigrants, was one of the last century's most irresistible performers. Like his idol Louis Armstrong, he was a fine trumpeter, singer, bandleader and extrovert entertainer. His inspirational trumpet style, self-taught, was based on Oliver and Armstrong. His singing, described as 'hoarse and horny', mixed Neapolitan slang with scat. He was a truly great showman. Much later on, his was the voice of 'King Louis' in The Jungle Book. 'Swing It!', the catchphrase of his popular radio show, is also the title of Retrospective's summary of the very best of Louis Prima's whole career, opening with the two lively titles from his very first recording session in 1933 (Chinatown, My Chinatown & Dinah). His New Orleans Gang, with top jazz stars such as Pee Wee Russell, Georg Brunis and Eddie Miller, recorded some great jazz. The 15 tracks here from 1934/8 include such major hits as In A Little Gypsy Tea Room and The Lady In Red, and his most famous composition, Sing, Sing, Sing. In the 40s Louis led a big band, pouring out a string of hot swing numbers (Brooklyn Boogie, Saint Louis Blues) and entertaining novelties (Robin Hood, Bell-Bottom Trousers), often 'Neapolitan flavoured' (Angelina, Felicia No Capicia). In contrast he also wrote the beautiful ballad, A Sunday Kind Of Love. A notable feature of Louis' career from the late 40s was his fabulous partnership with Keely Smith (to whom he was married 1952/61). She is heard on seven tracks.
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