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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: The Louis Armstrong Box

This box makes Louis Armstrong's All Stars period come alive again with a variety of tracks spanning the years 1947 to 1967. Surrounded by top-flight musicians such as Earl "Fatha" Hines, Jack Teagarden, Sid Catlett, Trummy Young, Milt Hinton, Edmond Hall and Tyree Glenn, you'll hear Armstrong in live settings ranging from nightclubs in New York and Chicago to concerts in Denmark and France to one-nighters in small-towns such as Ephrata, Pennsylvania, putting on a wonderful show wherever he went. In addition to containing many previously unreleased tracks, there is also a DVD capturing some of Armstrong's finest moments from television in the 1950s, including meetings with Dizzy Gillespie, Jack Teagarden and Hoagy Carmichael. So let the old myths die and rejoice in the timeless, swinging and ceaselessly entertaining music of Louis Armstrong and His All Stars. Oh yeah!