Louis Armstrong: Musician & Jazz Innovator
Louis Armstrong was the greatest of all Jazz musicians. Armstrong defined what it was to play Jazz. His amazing technical abilities, the joy and spontaneity, and amazingly quick, inventive musical mind still dominate Jazz to this day.
He was from a very poor family and was sent to reform school when he was twelve after
firing a gun in the air on New Year's Eve. At the school he learned to play cornet. After being released at age fourteen, he worked selling papers, unloading boats, and selling coal from a cart.
In the twenties, he stunned his jazz peers with an instrumental originality they had never been imagined. The thirties saw him rise to the top of the pop music echelon, as his peerless personality swept up admiring listeners of all colors. He performed on Broadway, starred in movies, recorded music, and gained international fame. Louis was an all-round performer. He was a singer, master of the trumpet, and even danced in musicals. He also is credited with popularizing the jazz vocalization
known as ‘scat singing’. Louis traveled the world, dedicating his life to bringing joy to people through his music.
Armstrong became known as America's Ambassador. In 1963 Armstrong scored a huge international hit with his version of "Hello Dolly". This number one single even knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts. In 1968 he recorded another number one hit with the touchingly optimistic "What A Wonderful World". Armstrong's health began to fail him and he was hospitalized several times over the remaining three years of his life, but he continued playing and recording. On July 6th 1971 the world's greatest Jazz musician died in his sleep at his home in Queens, New York.