Louis Armstrong

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Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1901. He lived in a very poor part of town. His mother was a prostitute, and was often absent, so he was raised primarily by his grandmother. Louis went to school until the fifth grade, when he had to quit to help his family earn a living. On new years eve, 1912, Louis Armstrong fired a pistol in the air to ring in the new year, he was arrested soon after, and sent the the Colored Waif's Home for Boys. This is where he really found his musical talent. He had played the cornet as a kid, but it was here where he learned to improvise and play with a group, when he played with the boy's band at the school. Louis was released from the school in 1914. He found odd jobs working for a Jewish Family, collecting Junk, selling coal, and playing music on the side. He improved his skills on the cornet under the teaching of a local blues legend, Joe Oliver, and fellow members his Kid Ory' band.

Starting Out

Louis Armstrong continued to learn from oliver, and Oliver would occasionally use Louis as a sub in shows, which let him showcase his talent on the cornet. Eventually he replaced Oliver in Kid Ory's band and in 1919, became a full time musician. He played parties on riverboats, and at local bars and clubs. Joe Oliver had now moved to Chicago, and asked Armstrong to join his new band . Louis' band, and his girlfriend Lillian Hardin, persuaded him to stay, but the offer was too good to turn down. After moving to Chicago, he recorded his first song with Oliver's Band, Chimes Blues. He introduced a more swingy sound to Oliver's primarily blues band. After playing with Oliver's band for a year, Armstrong moved to New York, and joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, the top Black Dance Band in New York city. It was very hard for him to break his ties with his mentor, but it helped become known as a jazz musician. When he joined, some of the band members didn't like his southern swing influences being incorperouted into their songs. They also gave him a hard time about the clothing style he wore, and the way he talked, and never let him sing in their concerts because they thought his voice was too ruff for their songs. Because of this he left Henderson's Orchestra and looked for other options. He played with his girlfriend's band but was still unsatisfied.

An Acclaimed Muscician and Singer.

Louis Armstrong had become very popular because of his time in Henderson's Orchestra. Je produced many solo records, and played alongside other jazz greats of the time, like Bessie Smith, and Sidney Bechet. Then Louis started a new band, and made his first records under his own name; Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five. These Albums are regarded as very influential parts of Jazz history because they were where Louis Armstrong really showed off his unique sound that was like no other before him. Between 1925 and 1929 he released some of his most famous songs, including "Cornet Chop Suey", and "Potato Head Blues" and many more. Later his band added two more mebers becoming the Hot Seven. His band introduced the idea of each mamber of the group having a solo, instead of everyone playing together. Armstrong also performed in Brodway shows and other acts.
Dinah - Louis Armstrong 1933

Louis Armstrong performing his song Dinah. This song really showed his energetic voice and was one of the first songs he recorded with him singing.

Impact on Jazz and American Culture

Overall, Louis Armstrong made jazz a more expressive form of art. Before Louis jazz for the most part consisted of many different instruments playing on top of eachother; that was the "Big Band" style. Louis Armstrong among others, pioneered the concept of letting each instrument showcase their skill with very distinct solos. Louis also brought vocals to jazz. Bands of his time were sometimes afraid that singing would mess up the flow of their music, but Louis Armstrong showed that vocals could help compliment a musicians playing and add more depth to a song. Louis Armstrong has been featured in many movies and musical acts. He has always had a way of putting positivity in his songs. His songs told the story of his past and his personality, and inspired many people. He also broke many barriers for African Americans. He was the first black person to write an auto biography, and was the first to get featured billing in a major Hollywood Movie. He was also a spokesperson for civil rights. Later in his life he used his popularity to influence the integration of schools and talked about how blacks were treated in America.

Louis Armstrong's Long Lasting Influence

Louis Armstrong's music is still very popular today. He has influenced many modern jazz artists including Mark Braun, who plays with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans, and around the world. Mark Braun plays the trumpet, and does the vocals in the band. His vibrant solos and vocals are very simmilar to Louis Armstrong's and has a big stage presence and personality.
That's It - The Preservation Hall Jazz Band - Mark Braud Solo One Big Holiday

He is one of Mark Braun's Solos. It is very simmilar to Louis Armstong's solos becuase he tries to show of his skill by playing with different dynamics.