Louis Armstrong

The Father of Modern Jazz

Early Life

Louis Armstrong was born in a section of New Orleans so poor that it was nicknamed ¨The Battlefield¨. His father, William Armstrong, abandoned his family shortly after his birth and left with another woman. His mother often took to prostitution and would leave his maternal grandmother in his care. He worked odd-jobs in order to make money for his family. He would haul junk for the Karsnofskys, an immigrant Jewish family, sell discarded food to restaurants, sell newspapers, and haul coal in the famous red-light district, ¨Storyville¨. In the Storyville district, Louis Armstrong would listen to the bands playing in the dance-halls, especially Pete Lala's where Joe ¨King¨ Oliver played with other famous musicians. Armstrong learned how to play Cornet at the New Orleans home for Colored Waifs, where he had been sent multiple times for general delinquency. One of the most notable of these times was when he fired his stepfather's pistol into the air at a New Year's Eve party.
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Louis Armstrong: Struttin With Some Barbecue

Louis Amstrong's "Struttin' with Some Barbecue"

In 1927 Louis Armstrong recorded the first of many recordings of "Struttin' with Some Barbecue". The song isn't actually about food. "Barbecue" is a slang term for a girlfriend or a beauty.

Louie's influence on modern trumpeters

Louis Armstrong is considered the "Father of Modern Jazz", so it's obvious that he's influenced some modern trumpeters. Wynton Marsalis, one of the world's most famous trumpeters, considers Louis Armstrong one of the best trumpeters of all time, and always wanted to play jazz. Wynton's style of playing has been influenced by Armstrong's. Some other artists who have been influenced by Louis's style are Buddy Barry, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, Ray Nance, Sweets Edison, Buck Clayton, Roy Eldrige, and Doug Mascoll. These are only some of the more famous trumpet players. There are tons of trumpet players who aren't well known who are influenced by Louis Armstrong.
Wynton Marsalis on Louis Armstrong "Pops" CBS Evening News

Wynton Marsalis on Louis Armstrong

This is an interview with Wynton Marsalis on the release of a Louis Armstrong recording that was previously forgotten until discovered by the Smithsonian Institute.
Wynton Marsalis Tribute to Louis Armstrong

Wynton Marsalis's tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Wynton Marsalis created this tribute to Louis Armstrong. Marsalis stated that "Pops' taught us all, and we are basking in the glory of his music.". Marsalis is playing a medley of "Deep River", which is an African American spiritual, and "Summertime", a song from the musical Porgy and Bess, from 1957 in which Louis Armstrong starred as one of the main musicians, along with Ella Fitzgerald. Later in the video, Marsalis plys his own piece which sounds very similar o Louis Armstrong's playing.
Summertime Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong Playing "Summertime"

This song from the musical "Porgy and Bess" has Louie playing trumpet and singing with Ella Fitzgerald.

Louis Armstrong and his influence on American Culture

Louis Armstrong formed his own band called ¨Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five.¨ The members of the band would rotate out for new members occasionally. Louis Armstrong and his band influenced the playing of musicians all over the United States. They eventually became the most popular jazz band in the nation. Louie's style of playing set the standard for jazz from there on out. His style of ¨scat singing¨ is still recreated today and though new forms of jazz have emerged, Louis Armstrong's style will still be popular. The father of modern jazz died June 6, 1971, but his music lives on.
Heebie Jeebies-Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five

Louis gives America the "Heebie Jeebies"

Louis Armstrong's song "Heebie Jeebies" is the first song recorded where he incorporates his "scat singing" into the song. Scat singing is improvised jazz vocals using nonsensical words. Louis Armstrong began the style of "scat singing", and many jazz musicians have followed suit.