Louis Armstrong – Mr Jazz
Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest jazz trumpet players in the world. He was one of the most important musicians in jazz and in twentieth-century music. He was an active participant in a number of jazz styles, including the New Orleans style of the 1910s, the Chicago style of the 1920s, the New York style in the 1930s, and the jazz of the wider world in the 1950s. Armstrong appeared in nearly 50 films.
Louis Daniel Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As a kid Armstrong often sang in the streets to earn some money, as his family was very poor.
On New Year’s Eve, 1913, Armstrong fired a gun into the air. The police arrested him and put in a home for problem children. At the home, Louis learned to play the cornet. When he left there 18 months later, he started to play in small jazz bands.
As a teenager, Armstrong was a leader of a school band that frequently played for picnics and parades. He learned music by listening to pieces played by famous jazz musicians. Later he learned to read music.
In 1922, the great cornet player Joe ‘King’ Oliver asked Armstrong to join him in Chicago. It was a great opportunity for Armstrong.
In 1924, Armstrong married pianist Lil Hardin and moved to New York where he joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. But a year later he returned to Chicago where he joined the Erskine Tate ‘‘symphonic jazz’’ Orchestra.
In 1928 he started recording with drummer Zutty Singleton and pianist Earl Hines.
In 1929 Armstrong joined the hit show Hot Chocolates, where he sang ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’.
In 1932 Armstrong toured Europe, playing at the London Palladium.
In 1940 he formed Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars, a Dixieland band with six musicians. For most of the rest of his life, he toured with this group.
After World War II he became an inveterate world traveler, journeying through Europe, Africa, Japan, Australia, and South America.
Armstrong also became famous for his rough singing voice. He sang more as he got older, because it was harder for him to play the trumpet.
Armstrong died on May 6, 1971 in New York City. In New Orleans, he received a traditional jazz musician’s funeral with jazz bands playing and people dancing in the street.
Armstrong was nicknamed “Satchmo” by his fellow musicians. Short for “Satchel Mouth,” the name suggested that his mouth was as wide as a satchel (a large book bag). It was a sign of the great respect for Armstrong’s talent.