Louis Armstrong
American Jazz trumpeter and singer
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance.
Biography
Louis Armstrong's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Louis Armstrong from around the web
Murray to make belated start to US Open campaign - Reuters
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The towering Argentine did not defend his title last year because of injury but is back this time and playing Italian Filippo Volandri at Louis Armstrong Stadium. On the women's side, last year's runner-up, Russian Vera Zvonareva, faces Kateryna ... - -
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'Country' Thomas, stalwart of Washington area jazz scene, dies - Washington Post
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Mason “Country” Thomas, 85, a multi-instrumentalist who was a stalwart of the Washington area jazz scene for a half-century and accompanied visiting musicians, including trumpeter Louis Armstrong, died Aug
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Louis Armstrong: His genius lives on - Telegraph.co.uk
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Grammy-winning Jazz musican John Chilton, who was Louis Armstrong's biographer, enjoys a new 10-CD boxset that showcases a musical master. George Melly (seated) with John Chilton (trumpet) and The Feetwarmers. Here the band comprise Chuck Smith (far
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New Orleans looks to future of its airport - Cheapflights.com
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That puts Louis Armstrong New Orleans International “at a competitive disadvantage to other cities,” says Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Crumbling infrastructure and other factors…drive up costs,” specifically the cost of airlines to operate out of MSY (that
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New Orleans officials press for major expansion of Louis Armstrong airport - NOLA.com
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By Michelle Krupa, The Times-Picayune Aiming to improve the look and efficiency of Louis Armstrong International Airport as a means of enticing new businesses to New Orleans, top aides to Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday asked the airport's board of ... - -
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Songs of the Day: Louis Armstrong covered, chopped and cartooned - NOLA.com
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In honor of the fest, which kicked off yesterday with a keynote discussion on the brand-new “Satchmo: Louis Armstrong – Ambassador of Jazz” comprehensive boxed set, check out these contemporary takes on New Orleans' most famous son – plus one bizarre ... - -
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Radio review: Satchmo by Satchmo - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
And so it was, with Satchmo by Satchmo, a programme filled with home recordings made by Louis Armstrong. The unusual element was that the focus wasn't his music, though we heard some of that. Instead, it was all about his extraordinary voice,
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FAA shutdown threatens Armstrong Airport safety projects - New Orleans CityBusiness
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The partial Federal Aviation Administration shutdown is into its fourth day, and a prolonged stoppage of work orders will jeopardize basic safety and maintenance projects at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
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Gig review: We Love Louis - Scotsman
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LOUIS Armstrong was – as singer Clairdee pointed out at the tribute concert at the Queen's Hall on Saturday – the first great jazz innovator and an influence on every player who followed him. reat pop singers of the 20th century,
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Louis Armstrong's audio diaries: hilarious, reflective, vindictive - Telegraph.co.uk
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The audio diaries of Louis Armstrong give riveting insights into the mind of the great jazzman, says Paul Sexton. By Paul Sexton The rhapsodic trumpet, the dabbing handkerchief, the Grand Canyon grin across the “satchel-mouth” that gave him his
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Concert honors trumpet master - Palladium-Item
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Louis Armstrong recorded in Richmond in 1923 and 1924 and played a concert here in 1941. / Palladium-Item file photo • Where: Murray Theatre (Richmond Civic Theatre), 1003 E. Main St., Richmond • Cost: $20 adults, $15 for students and members of
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Go Guide - Palladium-Item
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Trumpeter Byron Stripling will bring the music and spirit of Louis Armstrong to the Murray Theatre stage Saturday night. The concert, a partnership of the Starr-Gennett Foundation and Richmond Civic Theatre, pays tribute to Armstrong, who performed on
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New Orleans and all that jazz - Toronto Sun
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This 1932 publicity portrait of Louis Armstrong was taken in Chicago to promote Armstrong's first European tour. The old cornet is battered and bruised, patched here and soldered there. It sits in a glass case in the Old Mint museum in the French
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Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp passes legacy to young musicians - NOLA.com
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ELIOT KAMENITZ / THE TIMES-PICAYUNEGreg Agid, center, teaches clarinet students at the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp at Loyola on Monday, July 11, 2011. Agid, 24, is an instructor at the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, an intensive
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Louis Armstrong died 40 years ago today [VIDEOS] - Washington Post (blog)
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Louis Armstrong, circa 1946. (William P. Gottlieb) When the jazz trumpeter with the sandpaper voice known affectionately as “Satchmo” or “Pops” died 40 years ago today, he left behind a legacy of a serious young musician and a
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Louis Armstrong
    CHILDHOOD
  • 1971
    Although he died in 1971, it was not until the mid-1980s that his true birth date of August 4, 1901 was discovered by researcher Tad Jones through the examination of baptismal records.
    More Details Hide Details Armstrong was born into a poor family in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was the grandson of slaves. He spent his youth in poverty, in a rough neighborhood known as "the Battlefield", which was part of the Storyville legal prostitution district. His father, William Armstrong (1881–1933), abandoned the family when Louis was an infant and took up with another woman. His mother, Mary "Mayann" Albert (1886–1927), then left Louis and his younger sister, Beatrice Armstrong Collins (1903–1987), in the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong, and at times, his Uncle Isaac. At five, he moved back to live with his mother, her relatives and a parade of "step-fathers". He attended the Fisk School for Boys, where he most likely had early exposure to music. He brought in some money as a paperboy and also by finding discarded food and selling it to restaurants, but it was not enough to keep his mother from prostitution. He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to the quadrille. For extra money he also hauled coal to Storyville, and listened to the bands playing in the brothels and dance halls, especially Pete Lala's, where Joe "King" Oliver performed as well as other famous musicians who would drop in to jam.
    He was released from the hospital in May, and died of a heart attack in his sleep on July 6, 1971, a month before his 70th birthday.
    More Details Hide Details He was residing in Corona, Queens, New York City, at the time of his death. He was interred in Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, in Queens, New York City. His honorary pallbearers included Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Earl Wilson, Alan King, Johnny Carson and David Frost. Peggy Lee sang The Lord's Prayer at the services while Al Hibbler sang "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and Fred Robbins, a long-time friend, gave the eulogy. Armstrong was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy's National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.
    Against his doctor's advice, Armstrong played a two-week engagement in March 1971 at the Waldorf-Astoria's Empire Room.
    More Details Hide Details At the end of it he was hospitalized for a heart attack.
  • 1969
    In 1969, Armstrong had a cameo role in the film version of Hello, Dolly! as the bandleader, Louis, to which he sang the title song with actress Barbra Streisand.
    More Details Hide Details His solo recording of "Hello, Dolly! " is one of his most recognizable performances. He was heard on such radio programs as The Story of Swing (1937) and This Is Jazz (1947), and he also made countless television appearances, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, including appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, a self-described Armstrong admirer, asserted that a 1952 Louis Armstrong concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris played a significant role in inspiring him to create the fictional creatures called Cronopios that are the subject of a number of Cortázar's short stories. Cortázar once called Armstrong himself "Grandísimo Cronopio" (The Great Cronopio). Armstrong appears as a minor fictionalized character in Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory Series. When he and his band escape from a Nazi-like Confederacy, they enhance the insipid mainstream music of the North. A young Armstrong also appears as a minor fictionalized character in Patrick Neate's 2001 novel Twelve Bar Blues, part of which is set in New Orleans, and which was a winner at that year's Whitbread Book Awards.
  • OTHER
  • 1968
    In 1968, Armstrong scored one last popular hit in the United Kingdom with "What a Wonderful World", which topped the British charts for a month; however, the single did not chart at all in America.
    More Details Hide Details The song gained greater currency in the popular consciousness when it was used in the 1987 movie Good Morning, Vietnam, its subsequent re-release topping many charts around the world. Armstrong even appeared on the October 28, 1970, Johnny Cash Show, where he sang Nat King Cole's hit "Rambling Rose" and joined Cash to re-create his performance backing Jimmie Rodgers on "Blue Yodel No. 9". Armstrong enjoyed many types of music, from blues to the arrangements of Guy Lombardo, to Latin American folksongs, to classical symphonies and opera. Armstrong incorporated influences from all these sources into his performances, sometimes to the bewilderment of fans who wanted him to stay in convenient narrow categories. Armstrong was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Some of his solos from the 1950s, such as the hard rocking version of "St. Louis Blues" from the WC Handy album, show that the influence went in both directions.
    In February 1968, he also appeared with Lara Saint Paul on the Italian RAI television channel where he performed "Grassa e Bella," a track he sang in Italian for the Italian market and C.D.I. label.
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    Armstrong performed in Italy at the 1968 Sanremo Music Festival where he sang "Mi Va di Cantare" alongside his friend, the Eritrean-born Italian singer Lara Saint Paul.
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  • 1964
    His 1964 song "Bout Time" was later featured in the film Bewitched.
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    In 1964, Armstrong knocked The Beatles off the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "Hello, Dolly!
    More Details Hide Details ", which gave the 63-year-old performer a U.S. record as the oldest artist to have a number one song.
    His performance of "Hello Dolly" won for best male pop vocal performance at the 1964 Grammy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details Armstrong had nineteen "Top Ten" records including "Stardust", "What a Wonderful World", "When The Saints Go Marching In", "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Ain't Misbehavin'", "You Rascal You", and "Stompin' at the Savoy". "We Have All the Time in the World" was featured on the soundtrack of the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and enjoyed renewed popularity in the UK in 1994 when it featured on a Guinness advert. It reached number 3 in the charts on being re-released.
    In 1964 his recording of the song "Hello Dolly" went to number one.
    More Details Hide Details An album of the same title was quickly created around the song, and also shot to number one (knocking The Beatles off the top of the chart). The album sold very well for the rest of the year, quickly going "Gold" (500,000).
  • 1957
    Armstrong's criticism of President Eisenhower, calling him "two-faced" and "gutless" because of his inaction during the conflict over school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 made national news.
    More Details Hide Details As a protest, Armstrong canceled a planned tour of the Soviet Union on behalf of the State Department saying: "The way they're treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell" and that he could not represent his government abroad when it was in conflict with its own people. The FBI kept a file on Armstrong for his outspokenness about integration. When asked about his religion, Armstrong would answer that he was raised a Baptist, always wore a Star of David, and was friends with the Pope. Armstrong wore the Star of David in honor of the Karnofsky family, who took him in as a child and lent him the money to buy his first cornet. Louis Armstrong was, in fact, baptized as a Catholic at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in New Orleans, and he met popes Pius XII and Paul VI, though there is no evidence that he considered himself Catholic. Armstrong seems to have been tolerant towards various religions, but also found humor in them.
  • 1955
    In a 1955 letter to his manager, Joe Glaser, Armstrong affirmed his belief that Preston's newborn baby was his daughter, and ordered Glaser to pay a monthly allowance of $400 to mother and child.
    More Details Hide Details Armstrong was noted for his colorful and charismatic personality. His autobiography vexed some biographers and historians, as he had a habit of telling tales, particularly of his early childhood when he was less scrutinized, and his embellishments of his history often lack consistency. In addition to an entertainer, Armstrong was a leading personality of the day. He was beloved by an American public that gave even the greatest African American performers little access beyond their public celebrity, and he was able to live a private life of access and privilege afforded to few other African Americans during that era. He generally remained politically neutral, which at times alienated him from members of the black community who looked to him to use his prominence with white America to become more of an outspoken figure during the Civil Rights Movement of U.S. history.
  • 1950
    With the publishers' permission, Armstrong recorded the first American version of "C'est si bon" on June 26, 1950, in New York, with English lyrics by Jerry Seelen.
    More Details Hide Details When it was released, the disc garnered worldwide sales. In the 1960s, he toured Ghana and Nigeria, performing with Victor Olaiya during the Nigerian Civil war. In 1964, he recorded his biggest-selling record, "Hello, Dolly! ", a song by Jerry Herman, originally sung by Carol Channing. Armstrong's version remained on the Hot 100 for 22 weeks, longer than any other record produced that year, and went to No. 1 making him, at 62 years, 9 months and 5 days, the oldest person ever to accomplish that feat. In the process, he dislodged the Beatles from the No. 1 position they had occupied for 14 consecutive weeks with three different songs. Armstrong made his last recorded trumpet performances on his 1968 album Disney Songs the Satchmo Way.
  • 1948
    In 1948, he participated in the Nice Jazz Festival, where Suzy Delair sang "C'est si bon", by Henri Betti and André Hornez, for the first time in public.
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  • 1947
    Following a highly successful small-group jazz concert at New York Town Hall on May 17, 1947, featuring Armstrong with trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden, Armstrong's manager, Joe Glaser dissolved the Armstrong big band on August 13, 1947 and established a six-piece traditional jazz small group featuring Armstrong with (initially) Teagarden, Earl Hines and other top swing and Dixieland musicians, most of them ex-big band leaders.
    More Details Hide Details The new group was announced at the opening of Billy Berg's Supper Club. This group was called Louis Armstrong and his All Stars and included at various times Earl "Fatha" Hines, Barney Bigard, Edmond Hall, Jack Teagarden, Trummy Young, Arvell Shaw, Billy Kyle, Marty Napoleon, Big Sid Catlett, Cozy Cole, Tyree Glenn, Barrett Deems, Mort Herbert, Joe Darensbourg, Eddie Shu and percussionist Danny Barcelona. During this period, Armstrong made many recordings and appeared in over thirty films. He was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time magazine, on February 21, 1949.
  • 1943
    After spending many years on the road, Armstrong settled permanently in Queens, New York in 1943 in contentment with his fourth wife, Lucille.
    More Details Hide Details Although subject to the vicissitudes of Tin Pan Alley and the gangster-ridden music business, as well as anti-black prejudice, he continued to develop his playing. He recorded Hoagy Carmichael's Rockin' Chair for Okeh Records. During the subsequent thirty years, Armstrong played more than three hundred gigs a year. Bookings for big bands tapered off during the 1940s due to changes in public tastes: ballrooms closed, and there was competition from television and from other types of music becoming more popular than big band music. It became impossible under such circumstances to support and finance a 16-piece touring band. During the 1940s, a widespread revival of interest in the traditional jazz of the 1920s made it possible for Armstrong to consider a return to the small-group musical style of his youth.
  • 1942
    Louis then married Lucille Wilson in October 1942, a singer at the Cotton Club, to whom he was married until his death in 1971.
    More Details Hide Details Armstrong's marriages never produced any offspring, though he loved children. However, in December 2012, 57-year-old Sharon Preston-Folta claimed to be his daughter from a 1950s affair between Armstrong and Lucille "Sweets" Preston, a dancer at the Cotton Club.
    His marriage to his third wife lasted four years, and they divorced in 1942.
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  • 1937
    In 1937, Armstrong substituted for Rudy Vallee on the CBS radio network and became the first African American to host a sponsored, national broadcast.
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  • 1936
    He appeared in movies again, including Crosby's 1936 hit Pennies from Heaven.
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  • 1931
    He returned to Chicago in late 1931 and played in bands more in the Guy Lombardo vein and he recorded more standards.
    More Details Hide Details When the mob insisted that he get out of town, Armstrong visited New Orleans, had a hero's welcome and saw old friends. He sponsored a local baseball team known as "Armstrong's Secret Nine" and had a cigar named after him. But soon he was on the road again and after a tour across the country shadowed by the mob, Armstrong decided to go to Europe to escape. After returning to the United States, he undertook several exhausting tours. His agent Johnny Collins' erratic behavior and his own spending ways left Armstrong short of cash. Breach of contract violations plagued him. Finally, he hired Joe Glaser as his new manager, a tough mob-connected wheeler-dealer, who began to straighten out his legal mess, his mob troubles, and his debts. Armstrong also began to experience problems with his fingers and lips, which were aggravated by his unorthodox playing style. As a result, he branched out, developing his vocal style and making his first theatrical appearances.
    In 1931, Armstrong appeared in his first movie, Ex-Flame and was also convicted of marijuana possession but received a suspended sentence.
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  • 1930
    Armstrong moved to Los Angeles in 1930 to seek new opportunities.
    More Details Hide Details He played at the New Cotton Club in Los Angeles with Lionel Hampton on drums. The band drew the Hollywood crowd, which could still afford a lavish night life, while radio broadcasts from the club connected with younger audiences at home. Bing Crosby and many other celebrities were regulars at the club.
  • 1929
    Armstrong returned to New York, in 1929, where he played in the pit orchestra of the successful musical Hot Chocolate, an all-black revue written by Andy Razaf and pianist/composer Fats Waller.
    More Details Hide Details He also made a cameo appearance as a vocalist, regularly stealing the show with his rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'", his version of the song becoming his biggest selling record to date. Armstrong started to work at Connie's Inn in Harlem, chief rival to the Cotton Club, a venue for elaborately staged floor shows, and a front for gangster Dutch Schultz. Armstrong also had considerable success with vocal recordings, including versions of famous songs composed by his old friend Hoagy Carmichael. His 1930s recordings took full advantage of the new RCA ribbon microphone, introduced in 1931, which imparted a characteristic warmth to vocals and immediately became an intrinsic part of the 'crooning' sound of artists like Bing Crosby. Armstrong's famous interpretation of Carmichael's "Stardust" became one of the most successful versions of this song ever recorded, showcasing Armstrong's unique vocal sound and style and his innovative approach to singing songs that had already become standards.
  • 1926
    He began to scat sing (improvised vocal jazz using nonsensical words) and was among the first to record it, on the Hot Five recording "Heebie Jeebies" in 1926.
    More Details Hide Details The recording was so popular that the group became the most famous jazz band in the United States, even though they had not performed live to any great extent. Young musicians across the country, black or white, were turned on by Armstrong's new type of jazz. After separating from Lil, Armstrong started to play at the Sunset Café for Al Capone's associate Joe Glaser in the Carroll Dickerson Orchestra, with Earl Hines on piano, which was soon renamed Louis Armstrong and his Stompers, though Hines was the music director and Glaser managed the orchestra. Hines and Armstrong became fast friends and successful collaborators.
  • 1925
    Armstrong returned to Chicago in 1925 due mostly to the urging of his wife, who wanted to pump up Armstrong's career and income.
    More Details Hide Details He was content in New York but later would concede that she was right and that the Henderson Orchestra was limiting his artistic growth. In publicity, much to his chagrin, she billed him as "the World's Greatest Trumpet Player". At first, he was actually a member of the Lil Hardin Armstrong Band and working for his wife. He began recording under his own name for Okeh with his famous Hot Five and Hot Seven groups, producing hits such as "Potato Head Blues", "Muggles", (a reference to marijuana, for which Armstrong had a lifelong fondness), and "West End Blues", the music of which set the standard and the agenda for jazz for many years to come. The group included Kid Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr (banjo), wife Lil on piano, and usually no drummer. Armstrong's band leading style was easygoing, as St. Cyr noted, "One felt so relaxed working with him, and he was very broad-minded... always did his best to feature each individual." Among the most notable of the Hot Five and Seven records were "Cornet Chop Suey," "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "Hotter Than that" and "Potato Head Blues,", all featuring highly creative solos by Armstrong. His recordings soon after with pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines (most famously their 1928 "Weatherbird" duet) and Armstrong's trumpet introduction to and solo in "West End Blues" remain some of the most famous and influential improvisations in jazz history.
  • 1924
    On February 4, 1924, Louis married Lil Hardin Armstrong, who was Oliver's pianist and had also divorced her first spouse only a few years earlier. His second wife was instrumental in developing his career, but in the late 1920s Hardin and Louis grew apart. They separated in 1931 and divorced in 1938, after which Louis married longtime girlfriend Alpha Smith.
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    Armstrong and Oliver parted amicably in 1924.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly afterward, Armstrong received an invitation to go to New York City to play with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra, the top African-American band of the time. Armstrong switched to the trumpet to blend in better with the other musicians in his section. His influence upon Henderson's tenor sax soloist, Coleman Hawkins, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period. Armstrong quickly adapted to the more tightly controlled style of Henderson, playing trumpet and even experimenting with the trombone. The other members quickly took up Armstrong's emotional, expressive pulse. Soon his act included singing and telling tales of New Orleans characters, especially preachers. The Henderson Orchestra was playing in prominent venues for white-only patrons, including the famed Roseland Ballroom, featuring the arrangements of Don Redman. Duke Ellington's orchestra would go to Roseland to catch Armstrong's performances and young horn men around town tried in vain to outplay him, splitting their lips in their attempts.
  • 1923
    Louis' marriage to Parker failed quickly and they separated in 1923.
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    Armstrong made his first recordings on the Gennett and Okeh labels (jazz records were starting to boom across the country), including taking some solos and breaks, while playing second cornet in Oliver's band in 1923.
    More Details Hide Details At this time, he met Hoagy Carmichael (with whom he would collaborate later) who was introduced by friend Bix Beiderbecke, who now had his own Chicago band. Armstrong enjoyed working with Oliver, but Louis' second wife, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, urged him to seek more prominent billing and develop his newer style away from the influence of Oliver. Lil had her husband play classical music in church concerts to broaden his skill and improve his solo play and she prodded him into wearing more stylish attire to make him look sharp and to better offset his growing girth. Lil's influence eventually undermined Armstrong's relationship with his mentor, especially concerning his salary and additional moneys that Oliver held back from Armstrong and other band members.
  • 1922
    In 1922, Armstrong joined the exodus to Chicago, where he had been invited by his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, to join his Creole Jazz Band and where he could make a sufficient income so that he no longer needed to supplement his music with day labor jobs.
    More Details Hide Details It was a boom time in Chicago and though race relations were poor, the city was teeming with jobs available for black people, who were making good wages in factories and had plenty to spend on entertainment. Oliver's band was among the most influential jazz bands in Chicago in the early 1920s, at a time when Chicago was the center of the jazz universe. Armstrong lived luxuriously in Chicago, in his own apartment with his own private bath (his first). Excited as he was to be in Chicago, he began his career-long pastime of writing nostalgic letters to friends in New Orleans. Unusually, Armstrong could blow two hundred high Cs in a row. As his reputation grew, he was challenged to instrumental "cutting contests" by hornmen trying to displace him.
  • 1919
    In 1919, Joe Oliver decided to go north and resigned his position in Kid Ory's band; Armstrong replaced him.
    More Details Hide Details He also became second trumpet for the Tuxedo Brass Band. Throughout his riverboat experience, Armstrong's musicianship began to mature and expand. At twenty, he could read music and started to be featured in extended trumpet solos, one of the first jazz men to do this, injecting his own personality and style into his solo turns. He had learned how to create a unique sound and also started using singing and patter in his performances.
  • 1918
    On March 19, 1918, at the age of 16, Louis married Daisy Parker, a prostitute from Gretna, Louisiana.
    More Details Hide Details They adopted a 3-year-old boy, Clarence Armstrong, whose mother, Louis' cousin Flora, died soon after giving birth. Clarence Armstrong was mentally disabled (the result of a head injury at an early age) and Louis would spend the rest of his life taking care of him.
  • 1907
    He later wrote a memoir of his relationship with the Karnofskys titled, Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La., the Year of 1907.
    More Details Hide Details In it he describes his discovery that this family was also subject to discrimination by "other white folks" nationalities who felt that they were better than the Jewish race... "I was only seven years old but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the White Folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for." Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: "how to live—real life and determination." The influence of Karnofsky is remembered in New Orleans by the Karnofsky Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to accepting donated musical instruments to "put them into the hands of an eager child who could not otherwise take part in a wonderful learning experience." Armstrong developed his cornet playing skills by playing in the band of the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs, where he had been sent multiple times for general delinquency, most notably for firing his stepfather's pistol into the air at a New Year's Eve celebration, but it was only an empty shot, as police records confirm. Professor Peter Davis (who frequently appeared at the home at the request of its administrator, Captain Joseph Jones) instilled discipline in and provided musical training to the otherwise self-taught Armstrong. Eventually, Davis made Armstrong the band leader. The home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen-year-old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career.
  • 1901
    Born on August 4, 1901.
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