Louis Armstrong

The king of Jazz

"What we play is life" - Louis Armstrong

Louis's Life

Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, a factory worker, left the family after Louis's birth. His mother, who was involved in prostitution, left Louis with his grandmother. He left school in fifth grade and began working for a Jewish family named the Karnofskys. Life was seeming to take a turn for the better, when it all came crashing down. On New Year's Eve of 1912, Louis fired a blank from his stepfather pistol into the air. He was immediately arrested and sent to the colored Waif's home for boys. During his two years there, he discovered something he loved, playing music. He especially like playing the cornet, a instrument very similar to the trumpet. One of the greatest cornet players in town, Joe "King" Oliver, offered to mentor Louis. Armstrong happily obliged. In 1918 Louis married Daisy Parker, and they adopted at three year old boy named Clarence. Later that year he replaced Oliver in Kid Ory's band and began playing on riverboats. In the summer of 1922, King Oliver requested for him to come play second cornet in his band. On April 5, 1923, Louis recorded his solo "Chimes Blues". Armstrong married Lillian Hardin in 1924. After much persuasion from Harding, Armstrong joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra. Realizing that the rich life of New York wasn't for him. He left in 1925 and returned to Chicago. Louis Created his own band "Louis Armstrong the Hot Five". Between 1925 and 1928, The Hot Five made more than 60 records. After changing his band to the "Hot Seven", Louis changed form the cornet to the trumpet. During the summer of 1929 Louis recorded the hit song "Stardust"." In 1936, he became the first African-American jazz musician to write an autobiography, Swing That Music. After marring and divorcing Alpha Smith, he finally settled down with a Cotton Club dancer, Lucile Wilson. By the mid 40's the Swing era was winding down, and Armstrong decided he needed to move with culture. He left big bands and created another band called "Louis Armstrong and the All Stars". The band recorded multiple hits, including "A Kiss to Build a Dream On", "La Vie En Rose," "That Lucky Old Sun", and "I Get Ideas." By 1963, Armstrong was still popular, but hadn't recorded a song in two years. He then released his most famous song "Hello,Dolly!" It quickly climbed the charts and became number 1 in May, 1964. In 1967 Louis recorded one of his last songs. "What a Wonderful World". It as well skyrocketed and became very popular. Armstrong returned home in May 1971, and though he soon resumed playing again and promised to perform in public once more, he died in his sleep on July 6, 1971, at his home in Queens, New York.
What a wonderful world - LOUIS ARMSTRONG.

Oh, What A Wonderful World

Above is video containing one of Armstrong's most famous songs "What A Wonderful World". Armstrong said that this song really brought him back to his neighborhood where he lives with his wife Lucile. The song has no trumpet and focuses on Armstrong's gravelly voice. At 1:35 in the video he sing "I hear baby crying, I watch them grow. They will learn much more than I'll ever know". He put this in his song because when he came back from tours all of the kids would come and spend time with him. Even though he never had kids of his own, he always said that he saw three generations grow up. He would keep in touch with them, send the letters, and postcards. On the right is the iconic picture of Armstrong playing the trumpet for the kids. The song was also featured in the movie "Hello Veitnam"

Modern day Louis Armstrong

Stevie Wonder was one of the most musically influential people I can think of. Stevie was born on May 13, 1950 As a result of getting to much oxygen in the incubator as a premature baby, Stevie was born blind. Stevie showed an early gift for music, teaching himself how to play the harmonica, piano and drums. By 1962 he was releasing songs like you are the sunshine of my life and fingertips. Both musicians had a very tough childhood, but by using their love for music they persevered through the trouble and became some of the mos memorable and influential musicians of all time.


Louis Armstrong influenced artists like Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday. He revolutionized the world of music, and became know around the world. Now, many years after his death, his style has an impact on the music around us.