Louis Armstrong

By Sophie Taylor


Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 in New Orleans. After a long, bumpy childhood, he married his first wife, Daisy Parker, at the age of 18. Shortly after his marriage, he joined Kid Ory's band, the most popular band in New Orleans. In 1919, he would play for people on riverboats, thus being able to quite his day jobs. Although he was making it big in New Orleans, he decided to move to Chicago when he was asked to join a Creole jazz band. in 1923, he made his first recording titled "Chime Blues". in 1924, he married the band's pianist, Lillian Harding. When Harding made it clear that the band was holding Armstrong back, he joined the Fletcher's Henderson Orchestra, also known as the most popular dance band in the whole city. He moved to New York with his new wife to join this acclaimed band. But, when people started making fun of him because of his southern accent and diverse wardrobe, he moved back to Chicago and joined his wife's band, where they played at the Dreamland Cafe. From 1925-28, Armstrong created over 60 records with his band, the Hot Five, and later, the Hot Seven. He was also one of the first people to use the method of "scat singing", or singing without words. As his popularity increased, he started to appear more and more in movies. Playing all of that trumpet left his lips extremely sore- so he decided to take a little time off to recuperate. when he returned to the Jazz music scene, he became the first African-American jazz musician to write a biography, titled Swing That Music. And finally, after many more years of a busy tour schedule, the birth of a daughter, and re-marrying, he passed away in his home on July 6, 1971.

Significance to our Culture

He had the biggest influence on the growth of swing music in the 20's and 30's. He was known as "Ambassador Satch" because of his influence on outside countries such as Canada and Puerto Rico. Many historians believe that he actually brought our nations together through his music. His music talked a lot about love, loving yourself, and loving one another. That message radiated off of his music and into the hearts of many people all around the World. He gave hope to many African Americans around the country- even a person with colored skin can make it big in the music industry!

Songs by Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong Compared to Wynton Marsalis

Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis were both born in New Orleans. In a documentary, Marsalis said that Armstrong was his greatest inspiration. They also have extremely similar playing styles. Marsalis once said that although he has tried to play some of Armstrong's solos, he cannot because Armstrong put all of his soul into his music.