Louis Armstrong

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know"

About Louis Armstrong

Mini Biography

Louis Armstrong grew up poor with his parents not caring for him. He was 13 when he ran out into the street on new years eve and fired a pistol into the air. He was sent to the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined the home's brass band. They played at socials, picnics and funerals for a small fee. He made his first recordings with a band in 1923. He made a tour of Europe in 1932. During a performance for King George V, forgetting that he was not allowed to address the royal family, right before he began to play he yelled out, "This one's for you Rex!"

Present Day Comparison

Like Louis Armstrong, he changed the way we listen to music. Ornette Coleman began playing alto saxophone at the age of 14, like Louis Armstrong started playing the cornet at a very young age also. In 1948 he moved to New Orleans and worked mostly at nonmusical jobs. After, he went to Los Angeles with Pee Wee Crayton's blues band. When he tried to introduce some of his ideas for music, he was laughed at by his audiences and fellow musicians. Coleman had a hard start when he got into music just like Armstrong did.