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Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra


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Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans around 1900. As a youth was incarcerated at a waif’s home for firing a pistol on New Year’s Day. Here he learned to play the cornet. Played in New Orleans bands until 1923 when his idol, King Joe Oliver asked him to join his Chicago-based Original Creole Jazz Band. Two years later he was featured with Fletcher Henderson’s New York Orchestra.

In 1926 returned to Chicago where he recorded as the Hot Five and Hot Seven, producing classic jazz such as West End Blues, Potato Head Blues, Cornet Chop Suey, Heebie Jeebies and Tight Like That. In effect, Louis “invented” swing and brought the soloist into the spotlight with his trumpet and his vocals.

During the 1930’s his popularity soared as an entertainer and leader of a big band. Hits included Swing That Music, The Saints, Struttin with Some Bar-B-Que, Pennies From Heaven and Jeepers Creepers.

In the mid-1940’s he returned to the small band format, Armstrong and the All Stars, with Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines and rhythm. He maintained this format with varied personnel until his death in 1971. During his last decade he had hits of Hello Dolly and What A Wonderful World.

It is widely accepted that Louis Armstrong was the most influential instrumentalist and vocalist jazz has ever known.


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