Who Was Louis Armstrong? by Yona Zeldis McDonoughIf not for a stint in reform school, young Louis Armstrong might never have become a musician. It was a teacher at the Colored Waifs? Home who gave him a cornet, promoted him to band leader, and saw talent in the tough kid from the even tougher New Orleans neighborhood called Storyville. But it was Louis Armstrong?s own passion and genius that pushed jazz into new and exciting realms with his amazing, improvisational trumpet playing. His seventy-year life spanned a critical time in American music as well as black history.
With his infectious smile and raspy voice, Louis Armstrong who actually pronounced his own name "Lewis" won over fans worldwide. To untold millions, every note that he let loose made the world feel a bit more wonderful, and his music is still being discovered by new generations of fans. Here are 10 facts about the life of one of the 20th century's most important jazz musicians. Turns out, he was 13 months off. While growing up , Armstrong did assorted jobs for the Karnofskys , a family of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants. In fact, before marrying his fourth wife, he made sure that she could cook a satisfactory plateful. Music historians recognize this as the first popular, mass-market scat ever recorded.
An all-star virtuoso, he came to prominence in the s, influencing countless musicians with both his daring trumpet style and unique vocals. Armstrong's charismatic stage presence impressed not only the jazz world but all of popular music. Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, , in New Orleans, Louisiana, in a neighborhood so poor that it was nicknamed "The Battlefield. Armstrong had a difficult childhood: His father was a factory worker and abandoned the family soon after Louis's birth. His mother, who often turned to prostitution, frequently left him with his maternal grandmother. Armstrong was obligated to leave school in the fifth grade to begin working. A local Jewish family, the Karnofskys, gave young Armstrong a job collecting junk and delivering coal.
Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential Jazz artists that revolutionized the jazz music industry. He was born in the New Orleans, Louisiana in the slave family. Armstrong had a hard start in his life. His father is a factory worker who abandoned a family after Louis birth. His mother is a prostitute who frequently left him with a maternal grandmother.
King Oliver, The Unsurpassed Mentor
Armstrong with his mother and sister Beatrice in New Orleans in Young Louis spent much of his boyhood in the care of his grandmother, but he also found a second home among the Karnofskys, a local Lithuanian-Jewish family who hired him to do odd jobs for their peddling business. As a sign of his gratitude to his Jewish benefactors, Armstrong later took to wearing a Star of David pendant around his neck. Armstrong with trumpet, late s. Most of all, I began to learn music. Armstrong and his Hot Five band—his then-wife Lil is on the right.
Louis Daniel Armstrong was an early jazz trumpet virtuoso, and he remained an important influence for several decades. As a youngster, he sang on the streets with friends. In he was arrested for a prank and committed to the Waif's Home, where he learned the cornet and played in the band. On his release he began performing with local groups. Joe "King" Oliver, leader of the first great African American band to make records, befriended him, and Armstrong joined Oliver in Chicago in , remaining until , when he went to New York to play with Fletcher Henderson's band. When he returned to Chicago in the fall of , Armstrong began to cut one of the greatest series in the history of recorded jazz.
Armstrong once said that, "If it hadn't been for jazz, there wouldn't be no rock and roll. During Armstrong's lifetime, only one of his recordings ever reached the No. Since his death, Armstrong's recordings have enjoyed great popular success, especially his cover of "What a Wonderful World. Armstrong died in in the Queens, New York City, home he and wife Lucille had owned for almost 30 years. That building now is home to a museum devoted to the entertainer, the Louis Armstrong House. His funeral services provide a glimpse into his popularity among his peers and fans: An estimated 25, people paid their respects at his open coffin in the New York National Guard Armory.