Louis Armstrong is known as one of the most representative trumpet players and many consider him the father of jazz. He is the staple artist when we think about the New Orleans jazz style. He was a true pioneer in his branch and one of the most popular artists of the 20th century. He started a whole musical revolution thanks to his unique style and he was also one of the first African-American artists to perform live in front of a white audience. He was born in 1901 and died in 1971. In his lifetime he made amazing songs and in 2017 he was included in the Rhythm Blues Hall of Fame thanks to his amazing contribution in the world of music. Let’s take a closer look at the life of this iconic jazz musician.
His childhood was marked by the New Orleans music style at that time. He was working odd jobs when he was little and ended up in a juvenile correction institution in 1913. This is where he first learned to play the trumpet and completely fell in love with this instrument. His idol back then was King Oliver, one of the best trumpet players of that era. After he got out, Armstrong played in many boy bands and marching bands. His first breakthrough came when Oliver sent for him to become a trumpet player in his band.
Later, encouraged by his wife, he left the group and moved on to perform as a solo artist. During his time with the band he developed his unique swing style that made him a much better musician than any competitor. He played in large orchestras and by his 30’s he was one of the most respected trumpet players in the US. He later started his vocal career too. He liked mixing the trumpet with short vocal moments. This unique style brought him amazing popularity and soon he was touring in the US and Europe. He was also known for his amazing sense of humor that brought him many contracts as a comedian.
The Price of Fame
Soon, Hollywood turned its head to Armstrong and invited him to be an actor in many movies. He was very successful thanks to his unique humor and natural acting style. He had a very rough personal life. At the age of 16 he married a prostitute and the young couple adopted a disable child that was born by Armstrong’s cousin. He spent his whole life taking care of the child.
Armstrong had severe problems with his lips throughout his life because of his aggressive playing style. He even had to stop playing for a whole year at some point due to severe ulcerations. He never addressed to a doctor for this problem and preferred to used home remedies. He was also known for taking laxatives to control his weight and even wrote a diet plan about them. He had a very tumultuous life and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest jazz players of all times.