Louis Armstrong Research Paper

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As legendary vocalist Bing Crosby said, “He is the beginning and the end of music in America.” (1) Louis Armstrong is without doubt one of the most influential musicians of the early 20th century and the most influential within the realm of Jazz music. His influence is undeniable, with other performers such as Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday cited as owing a great deal to Armstrong. As a virtuoso trumpet player, cornet player, and distinctive vocal artist, Louis was an indomitable force in Jazz and popular music. Just as his musical expertise was instrumental to the popularity of Jazz music, his position as the best renown and respected African-American musician of his time was instrumental in breaking racial boundaries. With his childhood…show more content…
(5) He was born August 4, 1901, although that isn’t the date he told everyone. If you asked Louis Armstrong when he was born, he would say July 4, 1900. This date appears in biographies and other texts as well. However, with the discovery of his baptism record in the mid-1980’s, it was determined that his true date of birth was August 4, 1901. The father, William Armstrong (1881–1922), left Mary Albert when Louis was very young to start a life with another woman. Having been left in the care of his grandmother after his father left, Louis moved back with his mother at the age of five and began school. He attended the Fisk School for Boys where music was an important and integral part of the curriculum and where he had some of his first exposure to music. (6) Around age seven Armstrong began to be mentored and was taken in by a local immigrant Jewish family named the Karnoffskys. This family was instrumental in giving Armstrong a sense of normality and encouragement in place of his abnormal home life. They put him to work selling coal in the streets at first, and gave Luis Armstrong his first musical instrument, a tin horn. Unfortunately, having already been involved in street crime,…show more content…
His old mentor Joe “King” Oliver, now residing in Chicago, invited him to join a creole jazz band that he had started . So, Armstrong moved to Chicago at the age of twenty and finally began making a living performing.(9) It was the first time that Armstrong was able to live off of his earning from performing without needing a day job in addition. Chicago was the center of Jazz music in the 1920’s and Armstrong was living it. In 1924 Armstrong married his band’s talented pianist Lillian Hardin. Following their marriage Lillian pushed for Armstrong to distance himself from Joe “King” Oliver in order to grow as a performer. So Louis left Oliver’s band and moved to New York City to play trumpet as part of the top African-American orchestra of the time, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. Armstrong made the switch from cornet to trumpet in order to better fit with the orchestra. Henderson’s orchestra had a rather unique and different style than that of Joe “King” Oliver’s band, but Louis being the talented musician he was, adjusted very quickly. (10) The Henderson Orchestra was the premier African-America orchestra of the time, performing in the best venues, even the famous Roseland Ballroom. These performances were done in front of an all-white audience, which is what helped Armstrong reach such a high status in American society at the time. While performing in the orchestra, Louis also

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