- Armstrong, Louis
- (1901-1971)Born in New Orleans, the great jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong, also known as “Satchmo” or “Pops,” was placed in a Colored Waifs’ Home for Boys at the age of 12. He began his career as a professional musician in 1918, playing the cornet in clubs and on Mississippi River paddle steamers. In 1922, Armstrong moved to Chicago to play second cornet in Joe “King” Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. He made his first recordings between 1923 and 1924 with Oliver, including “Riverside Blues,” “Snake Rage,” and “Dipper Mouth Blues.” He moved to New York City to join Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra in 1924. It was this new band that developed the jazz style known as “swing.” Armstrong made a number of records playing trumpet with Henderson, including “One of these Days,” “Copenhagen,” and “Everybody Loves My Baby,” and he also recorded with Clarence Williams’ Blue Five, a group featuring Sydney Bechet and singers Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Armstrong returned to Chicago in 1925 and began to lead his own groups, the Hot Five and the Hot Seven, with whom he made some classic recordings of traditional jazz, including “Cornet Chop,” “Gut Bucket Blues,” and “Heebie Jeebies.”Armstrong and his band moved to New York in 1929 and made several records on which he sang, often using his improvised “scat” singing. He achieved great success with “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” recorded in 1929. From 1930 through the 1940s Armstrong played with a number of big bands and returned to small combos after World War II. Between 1932 and 1965 he also appeared in nearly 50 movies, including Pennies from Heaven (1936), High Society (1956), and Hello Dolly (1969). Armstrong’s song “Hello Dolly” had already reached number one on the popular music charts in 1964. Through his long and successful career from the days of the Harlem Renaissance through to the post-civil rights period of the 1960s, Armstrong was one of the most significant figures in jazz music.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.