He learned to play the cornet in the band of the Waif's Home in New Orleans, and after playing with Kid Ory's orchestra he made several trips (1918–21) with a Mississippi riverboat band. He joined (1922) King Oliver's group in Chicago, where he met and married the pianist Lilian Hardin. His early playing was noted for improvisation, and his reputation as trumpeter and as vocalist was quickly established. Armstrong was a major influence on the melodic development of jazz in the 1920s; because of him solo performance attained a position of great importance in jazz. He organized several large bands, and beginning in 1932 made numerous foreign tours. Armstrong appeared in Broadway shows, at countless jazz festivals, and in several American and foreign films. His archives are housed at Queens College, which also maintains the Louis Armstrong House.
See his memoir, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (1954, repr. 1986); his selected writings ed. by T. Brothers (1999); biographies by G. Giddens (1988) and L. Bergreen (1997); study by J. L. Collier (2 vol., 1983–86); J. Berrett, Louis Armstrong Companion (1999).
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