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Armand Hug Plays A.J. Peron [BCD-479] CD Review by Scott Yanow

Date Posted: 2012-08-15

One of the major New Orleans-based pianists of the 1950s, Armand Hug actually began his professional career in 1926. A lover of ragtime, Jelly Roll Morton’s music and traditional jazz, Hug made a series of consistently excellent recordings from the late 1940s into the 1980s.

On his GHB CD, two of Hug’s finest solo recordings are reissued in full. Dating from 1951 and 1953, these sets find Hug interpreting eight numbers written by 1920s bandleader A.J. Piron (although his biggest hit, “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate,” might have actually been penned by Louis Armstrong) plus such pieces as an uptempo “Cannoball Rag,” Scott Joplin’s “Heliotrope Bouquet” and Bob Zurke’s “Eye Opener.” More of a jazz pianist than a strict ragtimer, Hug puts plenty of his own joyful musical personality into his playing while improvising within the structures of the music.

Also included on his GHB set are five obscure performances that may not have been released before; the liner notes say nothing about these numbers. The underrated and talented guitarist Joe Capraro co-stars with Hug on a duet, two trios, and a pair of quartets. Two of the numbers feature the forgotten but appealing singer Jo Linn.

All in all, Plays A.J. Piron (available from www.jazzology.com) serves as an excellent introduction to the playing of Armand Hug, a New Orleans great whose music deserves to be remembered and enjoyed.

Scott Yanow

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