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Armstrong, Louis

Biography

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable deep and distinctive 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 greatly skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics). Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, 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 severely racially divided. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation during the Little Rock Crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a black man.

Featured Tracks




Recordings

Armstrong, Louis: Live At The Hollywood Empire 1949

This CD has been compiled from a series of live broadcasts from the Hollywood Empire Room in Los Angeles in the Spring of 1949. In the course of 18 tunes and over 70 minutes, Louis Armstrong and his All Stars (a seven man band, including vocalist Velma Middleton) perform an inspired repertoire including trad jazz, Armstrong classics, swing, boogie woogie, popular music and show tunes. Louis Armstrong And His All Stars were on the road constantly in the years 1947 through 1951, crossing the U.S. ten times and travelling to Europe twice. Therefore, the All Star band truly comprised of star musicians was in great form and extremely popular when they rolled into Hollywood in March, 1949. In spite of playing night after night across the country, Louis and the band loved to please the audience every night. As is amply proven here, the Hollywood Empire Room concerts were no exception. While some of this material has been available before in various degrees of sound quality, this is the first time it has been gathered together in one package, and from the very best quality sound source...