Biography of Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong is the same person who made a huge contribution to the spread of such a musical direction as jazz. It is thanks to his talent as a trumpeter and singer, personal charm and love for music that we can now enjoy unique compositions.
Childhood of Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong, the greatest jazz trumpeter in history, was born in 1901 in one of the poorest black neighborhoods in New Orleans. Armstrong’s family was, as they say now, dysfunctional – his mother worked as a laundress, and his father, a day laborer, abused alcohol.
The father abandoned the family when Louis was still in infancy. After that, Armstrong’s mother began to sell herself to men for money, and Louis and his younger sister Beatrice were given up for the upbringing of their grandmother Josephine, who still had the days of slavery. Later, Louis returned to his mother, but she still did not engage in his upbringing. As a result, the homeless boy was picked up and adopted by Jewish emigrants from Lithuania named Karnofsky.
Louis Armstrong was dazzlingly handsome in his youth
The Karnofskys settled in the area of New Orleans, which was infamous for its large number of brothels and casinos – Storyville. The people of Storyville were not puritanical. From an early age, Armstrong made a living delivering coal, selling newspapers, and doing other small, menial jobs.
One day, Louis decided to earn extra money by joining a street ensemble – first as a vocalist, and later as a drummer. In 1913, Armstrong ended up in a juvenile correctional camp for shooting in the street with a pistol stolen from a policeman. There, the future musician received his first musical education, played the tambourine and clarinet in the camp orchestra. It was in the camp that Louis finally decided that he would connect his future life with music.
Early career of Louis Armstrong
After his release, Louis met King Oliver, the best cornet player in New Orleans at the time, who took him under his protection. Oliver became Armstrong’s teacher before moving to Chicago in 1918. Shortly before him, Oliver brought Armstrong to trombonist Kid Ory, who took him into his ensemble.
After some time, the young man meets the professional band leader Fats Marable, who teaches Louis the basics of musical notation and takes the Jazz-E-Sazz Band into his ensemble. Since 1922, King Oliver has invited Armstrong to Chicago as a cornet player in his Creole Jazz Band, playing in the richest restaurant in the city, Lincoln Gardens, with a capacity of more than 700 seats. As part of the Oliver Ensemble, Armstrong makes his first recordings.
In 1924, Armstrong marries Lil Hardin, the pianist of the Creoles (this was Louis’ second marriage), the couple leave to conquer New York and begin work in the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. There, Louis quickly becomes famous, finally forming his own unique improvisational playing style.
In the mid-twenties, the trumpeter lives in New York, then in Chicago, successfully working in both cities, collaborating with many musicians, theatrical show bands. In the late 1920s, Armstrong recorded his best albums with the Hot Five studio line-up, which became the best examples of jazz classics. Around the same time, Louis finally switched to the trumpet, abandoning the cornet. By 1929, the star finally moved to New York.
Suite music star Louis Armstrong
The country is embraced by the era of big bands, and Louis Armstrong is increasingly concentrating on sweet music. Louie’s sweet music is distinguished by a bright, hot-jazzy style, and this successful symbiosis turns the musician into an all-American star.
Louis, then nicknamed Satchmo (fur mouth), reaches incredible heights in music. Sachmo tours throughout the United States, several times in pre-war Europe – England, France, Holland, Sweden, Norway. In 1933, Louis performs in North Africa.
Louis Armstrong became a jazz legend
By 1935, Sachmo is becoming famous all over the world. Armstrong plays in the theater, participates in radio programs, collaborates with filmmakers, and creates his own jazz band. Leading an incredibly active creative life, Louis undergoes several operations related to injuries of the respiratory apparatus and vocal cords, manages to get married for the third and fourth time.
Satchmo’s fourth wife, dancer Lucille Wilson, finally brings comfort and peace to the personal life of the great musician. Louis and Lucille would live without a fight until Armstrong’s death.
Louis Armstrong Ensemble “All Stars”
Since 1947, Armstrong has led the All Stars ensemble, which over the years includes such famous musicians of those years as trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Barney Bigard, drummer Sid Catlett and many other masters of jazz music.
By 1955, Armstrong and the All-Stars were the world’s number one jazz musicians. Louis has acted in more than fifty films, toured the US and Europe. There are even talks about Armstrong’s trip to the USSR, but in a conversation with Eisenhower, the “Jazz Ambassador” refuses this trip, saying that he will not be able to answer the question of how black people live in the USA: “I feel like any other black despite the celebrity … “. The question of Armstrong’s tour to the Soviet Union was raised again in the sixties, but the project was never implemented.
Louis Armstrong – Jazz Legend
Satchmo’s popularity continues to grow. Tireless, versatile creative activity elevates Louis to a seemingly unattainable height. Armstrong collaborates with such masters of jazz as Sidney Bechet, Oscar Peterson, Cy Oliver, Duke Ellington. Not a single international jazz festival is complete without a great musician – Nice, Newport, Monterey. The trumpeter comes to Latin America, Asia, Africa. Collaborating with symphony orchestras, the musician gives philharmonic jazz concerts at the Metropolitan Opera and Town Hall.
The stormy creative activity of Sachmo again affects the state of health of the brilliant trumpeter – in the late fifties he suffers a severe heart attack. However, this does not stop Armstrong, and despite the fact that health no longer gives him the opportunity to perform in such numbers as he performed before, Louis does not leave the stage.
Since 1960, Louis again takes up the career of a vocalist, recording covers of his own compositions and new songs, collaborating with Barbara Streisand, acting in films and writing soundtracks for theatrical and cinematic productions.
Song Sachmo “Hello, Dolly!” occupies the top of the American hit parade, and “What a Wonderful World” – the last hit of the great musician – becomes the best in the UK chart.
Death of Louis Armstrong
By the end of the sixties, the maestro, who does not spare his own strength, is faced with a sharp deterioration in his health. The last time Armstrong appeared on stage was February 10, 1971. Then he played in a TV show with his friend Bing Crosby.
A heart attack keeps him bedridden until March. In March, on his feet, Louis and the All Stars play concerts in New York for two weeks, after which another attack forces Armstrong to spend another two months in a hospital bed. After being discharged from the hospital in early July, Armstrong schedules an ensemble rehearsal on the 5th. This rehearsal was the last in the life of Satchmo – the next day, July 6, 1971, the greatest jazz musician on the planet dies due to heart failure, which led to kidney failure.
Louis Armstrong with children
The death of a jazzman has led to a huge amount of sincere condolences around the world. The leading newspapers of the planet – including the Soviet “Izvestia” – dedicated the front page to the great musician. Armstrong’s funeral was broadcast live on all television channels in the United States and in many other countries.
Louis Armstrong, the great Satchmo, who had an invaluable influence on all modern music, is still unsurpassed in both popularity and virtuosity as a jazz performer on Earth.