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Louis Armstrong - A Short Biography

aniel Louis Armstrong, better known as Louis Armstrong or Satchmo, was born on the 4th of August 1901. Armstrong was born into a poor family in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Possibly the most famous jazz musician of all time, Armstrong first learned to play the coronet and was part of various ensembles, including the Colored Waifs’ Home Band and the Kid Ory’s Orchestra. His tutor was Joseph ‘King’ Oliver and 1922 he joined Oliver in his Creole Jazz Band in Chicago. Armstrong’s first recordings were made with this ensemble the following year. It was during this time that he met and married pianist Lillian Hardin.

In 1924 Armstrong, after some persuasion from his wife, moved on, and went to New York City, where he joined the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. It was at this time that he switched instruments to the trumpet so that he would blend in more with the other musicians in his section. He is now seen as one of the most influential trumpet soloists in Jazz.

1925 saw Armstrong return to Chicago, where he started recording under his own name and with his Hot Five and Hot Seven bands. On these recordings he showed his growth as a musician and wowed the audiences with his imaginative and enduring form of jazz. Armstrong didn’t just wow the audiences with his trumpet playing, but also with his singing on these recordings. Listeners were able to witness Armstrong’s now infamous, husky, gravelly voice and still enjoy the outstanding trumpet solos.

Armstrong went back to New York in the year 1929, before moving to Los Angeles in 1930, after which he toured Europe and spent many years on the road. In 1943 he settled down in Queens, New York. For the next 30 years of his career, Armstrong played over 300 gigs a year. Also during this time he made more recordings and appeared in over 30 movies, such as: High Society and Hello, Dolly!

Sadly, Armstrong died in 1971 at the age of 69 from a heart attack – but his music lives on and is today as popular as ever.

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