Louis Armstrong facts

Louis Armstrong
Background information
Born August 4, 1901
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died July 6, 1971(1971-07-06) (aged 69)
Corona, Queens, New York City, U.S.
Genres Dixieland, jazz, swing, traditional pop
Occupations Musician
Instruments trumpet, cornet, vocals
Years active c. 1914–1971
Associated acts Joe "King" Oliver, Ella Fitzgerald, Kid Ory

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971) nicknamed Satchmo or Pops was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. He sang the blues and played the trumpet and the cornet. He was famous in many countries. He was also known for his good singing voice. Armstrong won many awards during his career.

Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans. 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. Around 1922, he followed his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, to Chicago to play in the Creole Jazz Band. In the Windy City, he networked with other jazz musicians, reconnecting with his friend, Bix Biederbecke, and made new contacts, which included Hoagy Carmichael and Lil Hardin. He earned a reputation at "cutting contests", and moved to New York in order to join Fletcher Henderson's band.

With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also very skilled at scat singing. Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet playing. Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general.

Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over", whose skin color was secondary to his music in an America that was extremely racially divided at the time. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him access to the upper echelons of American society, then highly restricted for black men. He died of a heart attack in July 6, 1971 in Corona, Queens, New York City.

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