Monday, August 8, 2011


Louis Prima - The WILDEST! (1956)

"The Book" says Louis Prima was frequently dismissed as an Italian Louis Armstrong impersonator early on in his career, which I guess makes a certain kind of sense. Their voices share a playful familiarity, the way they interact with the band, the audience... and they both share the ability to juggle verbal flubs into memorable musical moments. But calling Prima a Satchmo rip-off is definitely going way overboard. Some of the selections here - "Buona Sera" for example - have a certain mob movie flavor that doesn't appeal to me, personally. However, there can be no denying the sheer elemental ferocity of "Jump, Jive an' Wail", which has to rank up there with the Benny Goodman Orchestra's "Sing, Sing, Sing" as the piece of music most capable of causing involuntary skeleto-muscular spasms in anyone not currently in a coma... or deaf. Also, I vividly remember my parents dancing to that particular song at a Chamber of Commerce Christmas party once when I was, like, six years old. Man, those two could cut a rug to ribbons!

Had I heard it before? Roughly half the songs were perfectly familiar. A few were new to me. 
Did I like it before? What's not to like? 
Do I like it now? It's very enjoyable music... very easy to appreciate. 
Am I keeping it? Only the standout tracks. 
Standout Tracks? "Jump, Jive an' Wail", "Oh Marie", "Night Train"


  1. Preview

    Anonymous said...I have So Much Louis Prima- it may be criminal. This man can NOT be imitated.
    Catch the DVD Documentary if you can!

  2. About Sing Sing Sing.... Prima wrote it, Goodman did the definitive cover! I suspect my love for Prima's voice and style goes back to when I was a kid and heard him as Louis the "Ape" in Disney's Jungle Book.

  3. I had no idea Prima wrote Sing, Sing, Sing! I would say Goodman's definitive cover is mostly thanks to Krupa's drum work (mostly, but not solely). And thanks for reminding me that Prima was the Orangutan in The Jungle Book! Ah, memories...

  4. Anonymous, what's the Prima documentary called?