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Transcript of Louis Armstrong
During this time, Louis Armstrong honed his skills as a jazz musician,
playing on riverboats
and learning skills such as reading sheet music and undertaking the responsibilities of a professional gig. In the
summer of 1922
, Louis Armstrong
joined King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band in Chicago
as the second cornet. There he gained popularity with his fiery playing and cornet solos, and he went on to make
his first recording with Oliver on April 5, 1923.
joined Henderson's Orchestra in the fall of 1924
, and he quickly
influenced the style of the band by introducing the concept of swing
in his series of solos. Henderson and his arranger, Don Redman, were both keen on integrating Armstrong's swing into their arrangements, and soon Henderson's Orchestra
became what is often regarded as the first jazz big band.
"He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way."
-Duke Ellington, about
Louis Armstrong was one of the most revolutionary musicians
of his time, as he not only managed to make jazz a much more universal form of music, but also
broke racial barriers in the process.
infectious grin and his instantly recognizable gravelly voice,
he became one of the most famous musicians of the 20th century, and he captured the hearts of millions of people. Armstrong was an incredible inspiration to many musicians after him, and his style of music continues to be imitated to this day.
Armstrong then was sent to the Colored Waif's Home for Boys for allegedly firing blanks into the air on New Year's Eve of 1912; during his time there, he received his first formal musical instruction on the cornet, and instantly fell in love with the instrument. Armstrong decided that he wanted to pursue a musical career, and when he was released from the home in 1914, he earned a reputation as a fine blues player, while he still had to work odd jobs.
Beginning of Musical Career
While in his teens, Louis Armstrong learned from many of the leading jazz artists of the day,
including Joe "King" Oliver, one of the most famous cornet players of the time, who became almost a father figure to Louis.
In 1919, Armstrong took his place as the second trumpet for the Tuxedo Brass Band.
In 1925, Louis Armstrong made his first recording as a band member for his own band: Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
(and later, his Hot Seven). From 1925 to 1928, he continued churning out hits that are still today often viewed as the most important and influential recordings in jazz history. They introduced daring new rhythms and swinging phrasing, and Armstrong also
popularized scat singing in his vocal, "Heebie Jeebies."
In 1929, Armstrong returned to New York City and made his first appearance on Broadway. His recording of "Ain't Misbehaving"
introduced the use
of a pop song as material for a jazz interpretation, and it set the stage for the popular acceptance of jazz that would come later.
Louis Armstrong was
born on the fourth of August in 1901, in a section of New Orleans that was so poor, it was nicknamed, "The Battlefield."
He had a difficult childhood; his father, William Armstrong, was a factory worker and abandoned the family soon after Louis' birth, and his mother, Mary Albert, often left Louis and his younger sister, Beatrice, under the care of their maternal grandmother.
In the fifth grade, Louis had to leave school to begin work,
and young Armstrong worked jobs collecting junk and delivering coal.
In 1936, Louis Armstrong became the first African-American jazz musician to write an autobiography:
Swing That Music.
That same year, he became the first African-American to get featured billing in a major Hollywood movie, and in 1937, he became the first African-American entertainer to host a nationally sponsored radio show.
Armstrong continued to appear in many major films with stars such as Mae West, Martha Raye and Dick Powell, and was a frequent presence on the radio.
In 1938, Armstrong finally divorced Lillian Hardin and married Alpha Smith, but this marriage was not a
happy one, and the two divorced in 1942. That very same year, Armstrong married for the fourth and final time to Lucille Wilson, a Cotton Club dancer.
By the mid-'40s, the Swing Era was winding down, and the era of big bands was almost over. This led Armstrong to scale down to a smaller six-piece combo, The All Stars, with whom Armstrong would perform live with until the end of his career. Armstrong continued recording for Decca through the late '40s and early '50s, producing a string of hits, including "Blueberry Hill," "That Lucky Old Sun," "La Vie En Rose," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "I Get Ideas," and Armstrong joined with Columbia Records in the mid-'50s, soon cutting some of the greatest albums of his career for producer George Avakian, including
Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
Satch Plays Fats.
"La Vie En Rose"
Louis Armstrong continued a grueling tour schedule through the late '50s, and it caught up with him in 1959, when he suffered from a heart attack while traveling through Italy. However, he quickly recovered, and was back in touring, performing 300 nights a year in the 1960's.
Armstrong continued to be popular in
, but he had not made a record in two years. In December of that year, he was called into the studio to record the title number for a Broadway show that hadn't opened yet:
The record was released in 1964 and quickly climbed to the top of the pop music charts,
hitting the No. 1 slot in May 1964. This new found popularity introduced Armstrong to a new, younger audience, and he continued making both succesful records and concert
appearances for the rest of the decade.
By 1968, Louis Armstrong's grueling lifestyle had finally caught up with him. Heart and kidney problems forced him to stop performing in 1969, and in 1971, he suffered a second heart attack and stopped performing again for two months. Armstrong returned home in May 1971, and he
passed away in his sleep on July 6, 1971
, at his home in Queens, New York.
Since his death, Louis Armstrong's stature had only continued to grow; over the years, he has become more and more recognized as a skilled trumpet player, a revolutionary jazz musician, and a civil rights pioneer. His story remains an impactful and inspirational one for aspiring musicians and others alike, and will continue to be for decades to come.
However, Armstrong's southern background often caused problems within the band, as some of Henderson's other musicians would give Armstrong a hard time about the way that he dressed and talked. Henderson also did not allow Armstrong to sing during performances, thinking that Armstrong's rough vocals would not be welcomed by the sophisticated audiences the band performed for, and unhappy, Armstrong left Henderson in 1925 to return to Chicago, where he began playing with his wife at the Dreamland Cafe.
During the next year, Armstrong performed in several U.S. states, including California, where he
made his first film and radio appearances. Also, in 1931
, he recorded "When It's Sleepytime Down South" , which would become his theme song. In 1932, Armstrong toured England for three months, and during the next few years, he continued his extensive domestic and international tours, including a long stay in Paris.
The Louis Armstrong Society is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of New Orleans jazz and to honoring the most notable and influential individual of the genre: Louis Armstrong, aka Satchmo.
Founded in 2001 during the Louis Armstrong Centennial Celebration, the Louis Armstrong Society celebrates great music and New Orleans' heritage of jazz music through live performances across the country. The New Orleans based performers include some of the most respected musicians in the Big Easy, and all know the importance of 'blowing that horn'!
In 1967, Armstrong recorded a new ballad, "What a Wonderful World."
Different from most of his recordings of the era, the song features no trumpet and
places Armstrong's gravelly voice in the middle of a bed of strings and angelic voices.
The tune did, however, become a No. 1 hit around the world, and became his most-lasting song.
He became the first African-American to get featured billing in a major Hollywood movie.
High Society- 1956= Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra
High Society- Now You Have Jazz
Bourbon Street Parade
High Society Jazz Clip