Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Fireworks are in the Air!

Listen to Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five play Spencer Williams’s “Fireworks.” Note that snappy lift off with breaks!

Louis Armstrong and The Hot Five recorded “Fireworks” on June 27, 1928—Armstrong’s  only recording of this song (summer in Chicago hot! hot!). This session of the Hot Five was actually the Hot Six: Louis Armstrong (Trumpet), Fred Robinson, (Trombone), 
 Jimmy Strong (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone), Earl Hines, (Piano), Mancy Carr (Banjo), Zutty Singleton (Drums). Also recorded in this session: “Skip the Gutter” and “A Monday Date.”

“Fireworks”……what’s not to love in this fast paced race, every band member passing the baton and running on, Earl Hines and Louis tossing notes back and forth.


Stewart’s Ice Cream………. for a taste of Fireworks—white on the outside, raspberry ripples inside, packed with exploding red and blue fireballs

Pyrotechnics on the 4th (Pyropete—as in Fountain) for a backyard boom

“Fireworks”……..Spencer Williams, songwriter, born in New Orleans (1889), came to Chicago in 1907, departed to Paris in 1925 where he wrote songs for Josephine Baker at the Follies Bergere. His music was all over Chicago in the 1920s even he wasn’t. He returned to U.S. briefly, then back to Paris in 1932 for a few more years. He often collaborated with Fats Waller.  Other songs: “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “Basin Street Blues” and  “Careless Love.” He died in 1965 in New York.

"Firework”………Katy Perry drops the s, reimagines the buzz of 20s jazz into her spirited number from Teenage Dream Deluxe, a pep song, a rejoinder to bullies:

Do you know that there's still a chance for you

Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light

And let it shine

Just own the night

Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework

Come on show 'em what you're worth

Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"

As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework

soundtrack to The Aviator offers another version—Original Memphis Five’s take recorded on July 13, 1929, another steamy summer day

Then, of course, always a firecracker for a summer evening is sitting at SPAC or by the lake listening George Friderick Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks

Today with temps climbing, the best thing to do is order a double dip “Fireworks” at Stewart’s when you pay for your gas.

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