Louis Armstrong was the most famous jazz trumpeter of the 20th century. Like Jelly Roll Morton
, Louis 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 kept touring and performing for the next five decades. Louis Armstrong 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. He appeared 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. Louis Armstrong was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “early influence” in 1990.