A Louis Armstrong classic that all jazz pianists should know

If you play jazz piano, you probably know a lot of Bill Evans, Bud Powell, and Herbie Hancock recordings. Now let’s add another important, classic recording to the mix: “Weatherbird.”

The Louis Armstrong/Earl Hines duet “Weatherbird” is absolutely amazing, and it’s one of the earliest recorded duets in jazz history. On July 12, 1928, Trumpeter Louis Armstrong and pianist Earl Hines had an almost telepathic musical relationship. Their natural blend was further emphasized by the fact that Hines imitated the sound of the trumpet by playing octaves with his right hand in a brass-like melodic and rhythmic style.

If you haven’t heard this before, you’re in for a real treat! Both musicians were true virtuosos by any measure, and they’re each at the height of their creative powers here. The recording is only a few minutes long, so you can easily listen to it 3-4 times in a sitting. Absorb the sounds of this great performance, and let the feeling gradually come out in your own playing, no matter what style of jazz you play. These are the deep roots of jazz, and a good familiarity with these great players will ground your own playing in the jazz tradition.

Here’s “Weatherbird.” Enjoy!

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