“When the Saints Go Marching In” performed by Louis Armstrong (1938)

26 02 2009

What’s not to love about Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong?  A brilliant musician, an inspired singer, and by all accounts a kind and generous human being.  As a kid playing trumpet in school bands, I knew about Mr. Armstrong from a very young age.

This song is one of the most popular tunes in western music.  Just about every musician has probably had to play it, either by request or at some point while learning their instrument (like me, in school bands).  It’s so popular that many musicians have come to resent having to play it so much.  Supposedly, some musicians in New Orleans are so fed up with the non-stop requests to play the song, that they charge extra to play it.

“Saints” is a great example of Dixieland jazz, with a bouncy beat and wonderfully intertwining parts (especially from the clarinet and trombone in this track) that set off the melody.  Truly joyful music, and in New Orleans, it’s the kind of music they play at funerals, which is far and away better than the morose organ-based music most funeral homes cue up to bring everyone down.

You’ve probably heard the tune many times, but I want to make sure you hear it from Satchmo himself.

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