Louis Armstrong

From ArticleWorld


Louis Daniel Armstrong was an American jazz musician. Armstrong was first known as a trumpeter, but later became known as a jazz vocalist as well. He is one of the most influential jazz musicians of all times.

Music Beginnings

Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 into a poor family in New Orleans, Louisiana. Armstrong grew up in a rough, ghetto neighborhood in extreme poverty. He learned to play the cornet in a band at the alternative school where he was sent because of delinquent acts. He followed the jazz bands and parades in the area, listening and learning from Buddy Petit, Bunk Johnson, and mostly Joe "King" Oliver, who Armstrong called his mentor. Armstrong played locally and eventually traveled with Fate Marable. Oliver left New Orleans in 1919 and Armstrong stepped into his place with Kid Ory’s band, the top jazz band in the city at that time.

In 1922, Armstrong traveled to Chicago to join Joe Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Armstrong then went on to New York City to play with the top African American band in the country: the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, which is where he made the switch to trumpet.

In 1925, he went back to Chicago and used his own name for recordings like "Potato Head Blues," "Muggles," and one of his most popular, "West End Blues." Armstrong then spent a year on the road touring in Europe and the United States before settling in Queens, New York.

Armstrong & the All Stars

During the 1950’s, Armstrong cut his band down and went back to his original Dixieland style. His band, the All Stars, made many recordings and in 1964 Armstrong recorded Hello, Dolly, which turned out to be his biggest selling record.

Armstrong continued to play and perform for the next twenty years, despite his failing health. He died on July 6, 1971 from a massive heart attack.