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The life and career of louis armstrong

In his year there Armstrong matured into a major soloist and at the same time developed—indeed, single-handedly invented—a compelling, propulsive, rhythmic inflection in his… Although Armstrong claimed to be born in 1900, various documents, notably a baptismal record, indicate that 1901 was his birth year. He grew up in dire poverty in New OrleansLouisiana, when jazz was very young. In 1913 he was sent to the Colored Waifs Home as a juvenile delinquent.

Louis Armstrong Biography

Fame beckoned in 1922 when Oliver, then leading a band in Chicagosent for Armstrong to play second cornet. There he created his most important early works, the Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of 1925—28, on which he emerged as the first great jazz soloist.

By then the New Orleans ensemble style, which allowed few solo opportunities, could no longer contain his explosive creativity. By that time Armstrong was playing trumpetand his technique was superior to that of all competitors. Altogether, his immensely compelling swing ; his brilliant technique; his sophisticated, daring sense of harmony; his ever-mobile, expressive attack, timbre, and inflections; his gift for creating vital melodies; his dramatic, often complex sense of solo design; and his outsized musical energy and genius made these recordings major innovations in jazz.

Louis Armstrong

During this time he abandoned the often blues -based original material of his earlier years for a remarkably fine choice of popular songs by such noted composers as Hoagy CarmichaelIrving Berlinand Duke Ellington.

With his new repertoire came a new, simplified style: His trumpet range continued to expand, as demonstrated in the high-note showpieces in his repertoire. Louis and Lil Armstrong separated in 1931.

Though his own bands usually played in a more conservative style, Armstrong was the dominant influence on the swing era, when most trumpeters attempted to emulate his inclination to dramatic structure, melody, or technical virtuosity. Above all else, his swing-style trumpet playing influenced virtually all jazz horn players who followed him, and the swing and rhythmic suppleness of his vocal style were important influences on singers from Billie Holiday to Bing Crosby.

He played a rare dramatic role in the film New Orleans 1947in which he also performed in a Dixieland band. Handy and Fats Waller. In his last years ill health curtailed his trumpet playing, but he continued as a singer.

His last film appearance was in Hello, Dolly! He nonetheless made his greatest impact on the evolution of jazz itself, which at the start of his career was popularly considered to be little more than a novelty.

Keep Exploring Britannica

With his great sensitivity, technique, and capacity to express emotion, Armstrong not only ensured the survival of jazz but led in its development into a fine art. My Life in New Orleans 1954. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:

  1. His last film appearance was in Hello, Dolly!
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  3. By that time Armstrong was playing trumpet , and his technique was superior to that of all competitors.