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Louis Armstrong Bio - Louis Armstrong Pictures
|Louis Armstrong Bio:
Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the birthplace of jazz. He is considered the most important improviser in jazz, and he taught the world to swing. Louis Armstrong, fondly known as "Satchmo" (which is short for "Satchelmouth" referring to the size of his mouth) or "Pops," had a sense of humor, natural and unassuming manner, and positive disposition that made everyone around him feel good. With his infectious, wide grin and instantly recognizable gravelly voice, he won the hearts of people everywhere. He had an exciting and innovative style of playing that musicians imitate to this day. Throughout his career, Armstrong spread the language of jazz around the world, serving as an international ambassador of swing. His profound impact on the music of the 20th century continues into the 21st century.
Louis Armstrong Bio
Louis Armstrong Pictures
Armstrong grew up in a poor
family in a rough section of New Orleans. He started working at a very
young age to support his family, singing on street corners for pennies,
working on a junk wagon, cleaning graves for tips, and selling coal. His
travels around the city introduced him to all kinds of music, from the
blues played in the Storyville honky tonks to the brass bands
accompanying the New Orleans parades and funerals. The music that
surrounded him was a great source of inspiration. A born musician, Louis
Armstrong had already demonstrated his singing talents on the streets of
the city and eventually taught himself to play the cornet. He received
his first formal music instruction in the Colored Waif's Home for Boys,
where he was allegedly confined for a year and a half as punishment for
firing blanks into the air on New Year's Eve.
In 1922, Oliver invited Louis Armstrong to Chicago to play second cornet in his Creole Jazz Band. As a member of Oliver's band, Louis Armstrong began his lifetime of touring and recording. In 1924, he moved on to New York City to play with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra at the Roseland Ballroom. Armstrong continued his touring and recording activities with Henderson's group and also made recordings with Sidney Bechet, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith. In 1925, Armstrong returned to Chicago and made his first recordings as a band leader with his Hot Five (and later his Hot Seven). From 1925 to 1928 he continued a rigorous schedule of performing and recording, which included Heebie Jeebies, the tune that introduced scat singing to a wide audience and West End Blues, one of the most famous recordings in early jazz. During this period, his playing steadily improved, and his traveling and recording activities introduced his music to more and more people.
In 1929, Louis Armstrong returned to New York City and made his first Broadway appearance. His 1929 recording of Ain't Misbehavin' introduced the use of a pop song as material for jazz interpretation, helping set the stage for the popular acceptance of jazz that would follow. During the next year, he performed in several U.S. states, including California, where he made his first film and radio appearances. In 1931, he first recorded When It's Sleepytime Down South, the tune that became his theme song. In 1932, he toured England for three months, and during the next few years, continued his extensive domestic and international tours, including a lengthy stay in Paris.
When Louis Armstrong returned to the U.S. in 1935, Joe Glaser became his manager. Not only did Glaser free Armstrong from the managerial battles and legal difficulties of the past few years, he remained his manager for the duration of his career and helped transform Armstrong into an international star. Under Glaser's management, Armstrong performed in films, on the radio, and in the best theaters, dance halls, and nightclubs. He worked with big bands, playing music of an increasingly commercial nature as well as small groups that showcased his singing of popular songs.
In 1942, Louis
Armstrong married Lucille
Wilson, a dancer at the Cotton Club where his band had a running
engagement. The following year, they purchased a home in Corona, Queens,
where they lived for the rest of their lives. In 1947, Louis Armstrong formed
a small ensemble called the All-Stars, a group of extraordinary players
whose success revitalized mainstream
jazz. Throughout the 1950s and 60s,
he continued to appear in popular films and made numerous international
tours, earning him the title "Ambassador Satch." During a trip
to West Africa, Armstrong was greeted by more than one hundred thousand
people. In the early 1960's, he continued to record, including two
albums with Duke Ellington and the hit Hello Dolly, which reached
number one on the Billboard charts. Armstrong performed regularly until
recurring health problems gradually curtailed his trumpet playing and
singing. Even in the last year of his life, he traveled to London twice,
appeared on more than a dozen television shows, and performed at the
Newport Jazz Festival to celebrate his 70th birthday. Up until a few
days before his death, on July 6, 1971, he was setting up band
rehearsals in preparation to perform for his beloved public.
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