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Louis Armstrong

Jazz Musician

Born: 4 August 1901
Died: 6 July 1971 (heart attack)
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Best known as:

The charismatic jazz trumpeter who recorded "Hello Dolly"

Louis Armstrong was the most famous jazz trumpeter of the 20th century. Like Jelly Roll Morton, Armstrong began playing in New Orleans clubs and saloons in his early teens. By the 1920s Armstrong was touring the country and leading his own band, the Hot Five (later the Hot Seven). He continued to tour and record throughout his life and was particularly famous for his innovative, loose-limbed improvisations; some call him the first great jazz improvisor. His gravelly voice and sunny persona were a hit with the non-jazz public, and later in his career he became a sort of cheerful ambassador of jazz, even appearing as himself (more or less) in movies like High Society (1956, with his good friend Bing Crosby and starlet Grace Kelly) and Hello, Dolly! (1969, with Barbra Streisand). The theme song from the latter film became his most widely-known recording.

Extra credit:

Armstrong's nickname Satchmo was an abbreviation of "satchelmouth," a joke on the size of his mouth... He was also nicknamed Gatemouth, Dippermouth, Dip, and simply Pops... Armstrong was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an "early influence" in 1990... In 2001 the city of New Orleans renamed its airport as Louis Armstrong International Airport... Armstrong is credited with influencing trumpeters as diverse as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis.

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