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Louis Armstrong: The Most Famous Jazzman in The World

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 Louis Armstrong is one of the most important jazz musicians and one of the greatest jazz musicians of the world. He is also one of the most influential musicians in jazz music and its history. He had a special voice which by some people was called a ‘gravel voice’. The style that he played is called the ‘New Orleans-Dixieland setting’. His technical abilities were amazing. He played with joy and amazingly quick, his music was natural, he swung a lot too and everybody loved these abilities that he had. The records made by Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven are considered to be absolute jazz classics and speak of Armstrong’s creative powers.

His improvisation ability was his most amazing ability; he could improvise very quickly and with beautiful music. He had a lot of influence in jazz changing from an ensemble improvisation to solo improvisation. In ensemble improvisation, the whole band improvises together at the same time and usually, they play the same notes but in solo improvisation, only one person plays the others support him. The person who is improvising as a solo plays louder than the rest of the band so he/she could be heard, the people who are supporting the soloist on the background play softly and play music that would match the soloist’s music and melody but they wouldn’t play the same notes at the same time. Louis developed his own style of jazz singing he developed scat singing. Scat singing is vocalizing either wordlessly or with syllables that make no sense. Scat is a type of mouth music.

Louis Armstrong was born in a poor section of New Orleans on 4 August 1901 but was unaware of his actual birthdate throughout his life. He always claimed to be born on 4 July 1900, and this was accepted as fact until researchers found a birth certificate long after Armstrong’s death. Fatherless and virtually motherless (his mother was a part-time prostitute who left him in his older sister’s care), he received little schooling and worked a series of menial jobs from an early age, including delivering coal and working for a family of Jewish junk merchants. Despite a harsh, impoverished childhood in one of New Orleans’ most crime-ridden neighborhoods, he developed the optimistic personality that many Americans recognize.

His musical training began at New Orleans’ Colored Waifs Home, where Armstrong was sent in early 1913 for firing a pistol in the air during a New Year’s Eve celebration. During his 17 months at the home, he received instruction on the cornet and later recalled, “The place was more like a health center or a boarding school than a boys’ jail,” though the home was known for its harsh, militaristic discipline. After his release, he joined the city’s fertile musical community by performing in local jazz bands under Fate Marable (who taught him his strong professional ethic) and Kid Ory, as well as on riverboats. After meeting Joseph “King” Oliver and joining his pioneering jazz band, Armstrong became an exceptionally skilled instrumentalist and traveled to Chicago with Oliver, where he began recording in 1922 and went on his own within a few years. After leaving King Oliver’s band, Armstrong’s career flourished.

Biographer Laurence Bergreen writes, ”It was as though Louis had taken jazz out of its infancy and given it a powerful breath of new life and independence”. He formed a series of bands, most notably the Hot Five, with whom he had numerous hits (the first being “Muskrat Ramble” in 1926) and displayed his improvisational and interpretive skills. Though he began as a trumpeter, he began singing as well during this period, using his unconventional, gravelly voice to develop scat singing, which other jazz artists adopted. He attained especially high standing among other jazz musicians for his virtuosity and ability to translate jazz (formerly the music of New Orleans’ street parades and dives) to records. Bergreen notes that Armstrong “was the first important jazz musician to anticipate that his legacy would be actual recordings, not half-forgotten memories”, showing a shrewd side of his personality because early jazz artists (like its supposed creator, Buddy Bolden) were never able to reach a wider audience simply through live performance.

After World War II, Armstrong was no longer a cutting-edge innovator, since jazz had by now evolved away from its New Orleans roots and transformed into swing and bebop. However, says Bergreen, Armstrong “carved himself a unique niche in the music world ..Louis Armstrong was born in a poor section of New Orleans on 4 August 1901 but was unaware of his actual birthdate throughout his life. He always claimed to be born on 4 July 1900, and this was accepted as fact until researchers found a birth certificate long after Armstrong’s death. Fatherless and virtually motherless (his mother was a part-time prostitute who left him in his older sister’s care), he received little schooling and worked a series of menial jobs from an early age, including delivering coal and working for a family of Jewish junk merchants. Despite a harsh, impoverished childhood in one of New Orleans’ most crime-ridden neighborhoods, he developed the optimistic personality that many Americans recognize. His musical training began at New Orleans’ Colored Waifs Home, where Armstrong was sent in early 1913 for firing a pistol in the air during a New Year’s Eve celebration. During his 17 months at the home, he received instruction on the cornet and later recalled, “The place was more like a health center or a boarding school than a boys’ jail,” though the home was known for its harsh, militaristic discipline.

After his release, he joined the city’s fertile musical community by performing in local jazz bands under Fate Marable (who taught him his strong professional ethic) and Kid Ory, as well as on riverboats. After meeting Joseph “King” Oliver and joining his pioneering jazz band, Armstrong became an exceptionally skilled instrumentalist and traveled to Chicago with Oliver, where he began recording in 1922 and went on his own within a few years. After leaving King Oliver’s band, Armstrong’s career flourished. Biographer Laurence Bergreen writes, ”It was as though Louis had taken jazz out of its infancy and given it a powerful breath of new life and independence”. He formed a series of bands, most notably the Hot Five, with whom he had numerous hits (the first being “Muskrat Ramble” in 1926) and displayed his improvisational and interpretive skills. 

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Louis Armstrong: The Most Famous Jazzman in the World. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/louis-armstrong-the-most-famous-jazzman-in-the-world/
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Louis Armstrong: The Most Famous Jazzman in the World. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/louis-armstrong-the-most-famous-jazzman-in-the-world/> [Accessed 6 Aug. 2022].
Louis Armstrong: The Most Famous Jazzman in the World [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2022 Aug 6]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/louis-armstrong-the-most-famous-jazzman-in-the-world/
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