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Louis Armstrong (1901–1971)
Years Active: 1919→1971
joined King Oliver's band in Chicago (1922)
moved to New York in 1924 to play with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, cornet to trumpet.
known as a tireless performer, averaging over 300 concerts a year.
“Armstrong was jazz's first superstar. Satchmo's explosive creativity defied conventions of early New Orleans jazz; he was a charismatic showman and dazzling trumpet player who was, literally, too good for his band. His performances were largely responsible for shifting the focus from the group to the soloist, and he was also quite an innovator when it came to scat. Perhaps most importantly, his acceptance by the social elite helped popularize jazz across racial and social boundaries.” (bold not in original)
"Melancholy Blues," (1927) performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven included on golden record sent in 1977 on Voyager 1 spacecraft
recorded hit songs for five decades, and his music is still heard today on television and radio and in films. Listen to Armstrong's music, including in his own words, at Jazz Rhythms: "Louis Armstrong: A Seminal Voice in Jazz"
wrote two autobiographies (click on book titles to read them), and , more than ten magazine articles, hundreds of pages of memoirs, , and thousands of letters
appeared in more than thirty films (over twenty were full-length features) as a gifted actor with superb comic timing and an unabashed joy of life as in "Hello Dolly" where he co-starred with Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. He also had many television appearances
composed or performed dozens of songs that have become jazz standards, such as "Dippermouth Blues/"Sugar Foot Stomp," "Heebie Jeebies," "Potato Head Blues," "West End Blues," "Basin Street Blues," and "Ain't Misbehavin'."
performed an average of 300 concerts each year, with his frequent tours to all parts of the world earning him the nickname “Ambassador Satch,” and became one of the first great celebrities of the twentieth century
Timemagazine cover (1949)
Downbeat magazine Hall of Fame, Reader's Poll (1952)
Cover of Life magazine, April 15, 1966
See and hear him play and sing (including scatting) in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1933.
Krebs, Albin. "Louis Armstrong, Jazz Trumpeter and Singer, Dies." New York Times Obituary, July 7, 1971.
Glaser, Matt. "Satchmo: The Philosopher," in Satchmo at 100, Village Voice, June 5, 2001.
Morgenstern, Dan. "Satchmo and the Critics." in Satchmo at 100, Village Voice, June 5, 2001.
- "Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre: #5: Louis Armstrong," Chris Walker, LA Weekly, January 12, 2012.
- See Armstrong singing in the only known footage of him in a recording studio at Time magazine's Rare footage of Armstrong in recording studio.
- DownBeat magazine, "The First Recordings," fourth paragraph.
- Louis Armstrong purchased this modest house in 1943, built by Robert W. Johnson in 1910, and lived there until his death in 1971 of a heart attack. The house was put on the National Register #76001265 in 1976. In 1983, Armstrong's widow, Lucille, willed the house and its contents to New York City for the creation of a museum and study center devoted to Armstrong's career and the history of jazz. The Louis Armstrong House was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1988.