Jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and singer Louis Armstrong was born on August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Armstrong had a rough childhood. On New Year’s Eve in 1912, Armstrong fired his step father’s gun into the air and was arrested on the spot!

He was sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys. It was there where he received musical instruction on the cornet and his love for music was birthed. He was released in 1914 and knew he wanted to pursue a life making music. Joe “King” Oliver was one of Armstrong’s mentors when he was young. He taught him a few things on the horn. In 1922, Oliver called him to come to join his Creole Jazz Band on the second cornet. He accepted the offer and left Chicago shook with his amazing talent. On April 5th, 1923, Armstrong made his first recording with Oliver and recorded his first solo on ‘Chimes Blue.’

In 1924, Armstrong joined the Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra and eventually transformed the band into the first jazz big band. He returned the following year to Chicago and began playing with his wife’s band at the Dreamland Café. From 1925 to 1928, Armstrong made over 60 records with his new band Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. Five turned to seven and the group got bigger! They changed jazz history.

In 1936, Armstrong became the first African American jazz musician to write an autobiography titled Swing That Music. In the same year, he became the first African American to get featured billing in a major Hollywood movie in the film Pennies from Heaven. Last but not least, Louis Armstrong was the first African American entertainer to host a nationally sponsored radio show when he took over Rudy Vallee’s Fleischmann‘s Yeast Show for 12 weeks.

Louis Armstrong gave his last performance in 1969 when he began having heart and kidney failures. He passed away in his sleep on July 6th, 1971.




Information obtained on Biography