Louis Satchmo, Armstrong: The Life Of Louis Armstrong

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Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong “My whole life, my whole soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn…” (Louis Armstrong). He possessed no formal teaching and yet he broke all barriers when it came to music. Louis Armstrong remains one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time. He not only revolutionized the sound of jazz with his embellished, improvisational solos and “scat” singing, but also his humble personality and charismatic presence won him the hearts of millions. Often known as Pops, or Satchmo, Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 in a “ramshackle house” in a rough district of New Orleans known as the Battlefields (Giddins 45). Armstrong however, enjoyed claiming that he was a child of the American Independence, being born …show more content…
During 1925 to 1928, Louis Armstrong made a series of recordings with his band Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five, later the Hot Seven. These recordings are regarded by many scholars as some of the most influential recordings in jazz history. Armstrong left the big band set up for the standard New Orleans jazz set up consisting of the cornet, trombone, clarinet, and rhythm section. Armstrong soon ditched the cornet for the more striking-sounded trumpet. He not only produce one impressive improvised solo after another, but he also raised the bar for jazz vocals. For the first time, Armstrong was really able to demonstrate his unique voice during those recording sessions. It is said that during a session, Armstrong dropped his sheet music and started mimicking the sounds of the horn with his voice. This was the first time anyone had ever recorded this technique known as “scat” singing. Heebie Jeebies and Hotter Than That, was some of the earliest recordings of Armstrong’s scat singing. Armstrong and the Hot Five and Hot Seven produced sixty-five remarkable recordings during this …show more content…
Armstrong decided to front a series of large groups focusing more on popular tunes. Critics hated it because they said he was becoming too mainstream American. We start to hear a change in Armstrong’s music during this time. He abandoned his “early frenetic chases after strings of high-altitude notes for less eye-popping, more lyrical solos” (Santoro 32). It is said that Armstrong blew off a piece of his lip in the early 1930’s during one of his powerful solos, causing physical damage that hindered his ability to blow with such power. This however, did not take him out of the spotlight. Armstrong’s success continued onstage as well as in radio and films. Armstrong appeared in many films such as “Everyday’s a Holiday”,” Pennies from Heaven”, and even a Betty Boop cartoon, “You Rascal, You”. He was the first African- American to be featured on a network radio show. Hosting the Fleischmann’s Yeast Show which was a national network radio program. During this time, Armstrong traveled to Europe twice, performing all over, even playing for the King of England. Armstrong and his music was popping up

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