Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong had a major impact on Jazz. He brought a soloist's art into the ensemble nature of Jazz and was one of the most important artists when we speak about Harlem Renaissance. He is also famous for his unique voice. He often used an improvised style of singing, with random syllables or sometimes without words, which they called scat singing. With this technique singers used to imitate instrumental solos.He influenced and created a new kind of Jazz with his recordings.

Louis himself said that he was born on th 4th of July in 1900, the day of Independence in the USA. His actual birthday however was on the 4th of August in 1901. He was called "Satchelmouth" because of his wide and huge grin. Later he got his nickname "Satchmo". He grew up in a rough neighborhood. His father was a laborer and his mother was working as a part-time prostitute.

After he had fired a pistol into the air on New Year's eve, Louis was arrested by the police and was sent to the New Orleans Colored Waifs Home for Boys. It was then when young Louis came in contact with the musical world. The musical instructor of the school was Peter Davis. He soon recognized the talent in the young boy and taught singing, rhythm and percussion and how to play the trumpet.

In his youth Louis often went to dive bars where he was listening to jazz bands. "King" Oliver was one of the musicians Louis liked very much. Oliver became his mentor like Peter Davis. Armstrong began to play in numerous bands. 1920 he played in a band called the "Hot Five" and with this band he made his first record for Okeh in 1925. He even had the chance to do a track with Bessie Smith. His star was rising. By 1929 he was famous and became a big jazz star. He had his own performance group called Louis Armstrong and the Stompers and had the chance to tour with the show "Hot Chocolates".

Listen to "What a wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

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