Saturday, December 29, 2007


ARMSTRONG, LOUIS Acknowledged by some as being the "King of Jazz" and by others as being "the best trumpet player in the world," Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong was certainly a legend in his own time. Born in New Orleans on July 4, 1900, Armstrong learned to play the bugle and cornet during his early teens. In 1919, he became a member of Kid Ory's jazz band in New Orleans, moving to Chicago in 1922 to play second cornet in King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. Following brief stints with the bands of Fletcher Henderson (New York) and Erskine Tate (Chicago) during the late 1920's, Armstrong formed his own band and cut a series of recordings which became immensely popular and assured his success.

During the early 1930's, "Satchmo" began to play and sing with the "big bands," popularizing what was called "scat singing" (singing without words), one of his enduring trademarks. His subsequent world tours (first private ventures, then as a good-will ambassador for the Department of State), his many film appearances (including the immortal "Pennies from Heaven" with Bing Crosby) and his popular recordings (especially "Blueberry Hill" and "Hello, Dolly") made Armstrong one of the most loved entertainers of the twentieth century. His death in New York on July 6, 1971 saddened not only the music industry but the world community as well.

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