St. Louis Blues

WC Handy

The classic by the master

WC Handy wrote it in 1914 when New Orleans had a club area known as the “Tango District.”

The habanera (“coming from Havana”) rhythm was very popular and old school jazz musicians in that city still talk about its importance.

It’s been recorded by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller.

Here’s a production by Bessie Smith from 1929. She was an entertainment superstar of her time.

The 1925 version sung by Bessie Smith, with Louis Armstrong on cornet, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1993. The 1929 version by Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra (with Henry “Red” Allen) was inducted in 2008.

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