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Profile of Louis Armstrong


Profile of Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

Image from the Library of Congress


August 4, 1901; his parents were Mayann and Willie.


New Orleans, Louisiana


July 6, 1971 in Queens, New York; he died in his sleep.

Also Known As:

A great jazz improviser, the founding father of jazz and international ambassador of swing. He was fondly called "Satchmo" which is short for Satchelmouth, he was also called "Ambassador Satch," "Dippermouth" and "Pops." Armstrong was a very jolly person which endeared him to many.

Instrument and Musical Style:

He taught himself how to play the cornet/trumpet and became a band leader and singer. He contributed much to jazz music, especially his particular innovative style. He invented the sound of swing and proved that jazz wasn't merely for ensembles, but also for soloists.


A turning point in his life was when he was sent to the Colored Waifs' home after firing a gun at a New Year's celebration. He stayed there for 2 years, trying his hand at various instruments. Among his other influences are Joe "King" Oliver, a fine trumpet player and member of King Ory's band, who became a mentor to Armstrong. Another was Joe Glaser, his manager who helped Armstrong reach international status.

Notable Works:

Some of his well known works are: "Heebie Jeebies," "Mack the Knife," "West End Blues" and "Hello Dolly."

Interesting Facts:

Armstrong did, on average, 300 concerts per year. He was also a published writer and an actor. Early in his career he played with different bands including Kid Ory, King Oliver and Fletcher Henderson's band. Later in his career he worked with Bing Crosby, the Mills Brothers and the group All Stars.

Listen to Song Sample:

Music Sample Courtesy of Columbia/Legacy

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