An all-star virtuoso, he came to prominence in the s, influencing countless musicians with both his daring trumpet style and unique vocals. Armstrong's charismatic stage presence impressed not only the jazz world but all of popular music. Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, , in New Orleans, Louisiana, in a neighborhood so poor that it was nicknamed "The Battlefield. Armstrong had a difficult childhood: His father was a factory worker and abandoned the family soon after Louis's birth. His mother, who often turned to prostitution, frequently left him with his maternal grandmother. Armstrong was obligated to leave school in the fifth grade to begin working.
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Louis Armstrong, the cele brated jazz trumpeter and singer, died in his sleep yester day morning at his home in the Corona section of Queens. He had observed his 71st birthday Sunday. Death was attributed to a heart attack. Beth Israel Medical Center after 10 weeks of treatment for heart, liver and kidney dis orders. He seemed in good health during an interview June 23, in which he played his trumpet and announced his in tention to return to public per formances. Nixon and I share the sorrow of millions of Amer icans at the death of Louis Armstrong.
Armstrong Looking at Us Looking at Him
Although Armstrong claimed to be born in , various documents, notably a baptismal record, indicate that was his birth year. He grew up in dire poverty in New Orleans , Louisiana, when jazz was very young. In he was sent to the Colored Waifs Home as a juvenile delinquent. Armstrong developed rapidly: he played in marching and jazz bands, becoming skillful enough to replace Oliver in the important Kid Ory band about , and in the early s he played in Mississippi riverboat dance bands. Fame beckoned in when Oliver, then leading a band in Chicago , sent for Armstrong to play second cornet. There he created his most important early works, the Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of —28, on which he emerged as the first great jazz soloist.
Louis Armstrong in his den in By Giovanni Russonello. Photographs by Nathan Bajar. Behind his blistering trumpet solos, revolutionary vocal improvising and exuberant stage persona, how did Louis Armstrong see himself? For his entire adult life, away from the spotlight, Armstrong amassed a huge trove of personal writings, recordings and artifacts. But until this month, you would have had to travel far into central Queens to find them. Now anyone can access them. Smith, the wealthiest African-American — the Louis Armstrong House Museum has digitized the entire collection he left behind and made it available to the public.