Born: August the 4th 1909 - New Orleans
Died: July the 6th 1971 - New York
Louis Armstrong was the most important and influential musician in jazz history. Although he is remembered as a lovable, clowning personality, a gravel-voiced singer who played the trumpet in a New Orleans-styled Dixieland setting, Armstrong was much, much more than that.
Louis was more responsible than anyone else for changing jazz from an ensemble-oriented folk music into an art from that emphasized inventive solo improvisations. His relaxed phrasing was a major change from the staccato style of the early ’20s and he demonstrated that it was possible to have both impressive technique and a strong feeling for the blues.
Armstrong’s unique singing voice was imitated by a countless number of listeners through the years. He popularized scat singing and his phrasing affected many singers to emerge after 1930. Singers such as Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
Many youngsters were inspired to play the trumpet after seeing or hearing him and millions more were introduced to jazz through Armstrong. In later years Louis Armstrong’s worldwide tours resulted in him being widely known as "America’s goodwill ambassador"
Louis grew up in the poorest part of the city New Orleans, and he sometimes used to sing in a vocal quartet in the streets for pennies. But on New Year’s Eve 1912 he got his hands on a gun and fired it in the air in celebration. He was quickly arrested and sent to Waif’s home, that was sort of a juvenile hall. This incident was a turning point in his life, ’cause it was at Waif’s home he learned to play the trumpet. And when he was released after two years, he began playing with jazz groups and brass bands in New Orleans.
When King Oliver, a friend of Louis’, left New Orleans in 1918 he recommended Louis as his replacement in a popular band lead by the trombonist Kid Ory. Four years later, Oliver sent for his protege to join his Creole Jazz Band in Chicago as second cornetist.
And that was just a small part of Louis road to fame. He was now getting more and more famous and after the years went by he had played in various bands and was an inspiration to thousands of other musicians and fans. There’s little chance that he ever will be forgotten.
Some of Louis Armstrong’s greatest hits were: "Blueberry Hill", "Mack the Knife","Hello Dolly", "Tiger Rag, "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans", "Muskrat Ramble" and of course the song from the movie: Good morning Vietnam, "What a wonderful world"
And as a little taste of Louis music I’ve brought a little something… "HELLO DOLLY"