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Louis Armstrong Case

Essay by   •  December 4, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,424 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,898 Views

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Louis Armstrong is a very talented musician, actor, and singer. He has lived a prosperous life with a lot of success and an equal amount of downfalls. Louis Armstrong's story goes back to over one hundred years ago. Nicknamed Satch, Satchmo, Satchelmouth, Dipper, and Dippermouth Louis Armstrong took over and changed the jazz industry to what we know it as today.

Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father, William Armstrong, abandoned the family during Louis' infant years. Louis Armstrong's mother, Mayann Armstrong was a prostitute in Louis' early years. Louis spent the first years of his life living with his paternal grandmother, Josephine Armstrong. After age five, Louis lived in a two room house near Liberty and Perdido Streets with his mother and sister, Beatrice who was nicknamed Mama Lucy. The family lived in stark poverty.

Louis Armstrong started work for a wealthy white family, the Karnofsky's, collecting used bottles and rags and delivering coal at age seven. In third grade Louis dropped out of school and quit working for the Karnofsky family. All Louis did at this time was roam around the streets of New Orleans this is when he started to gain an interest in jazz. At age twelve Louis fired a pistol in the streets of New Orleans on New Years and was confined in the Colored Waif's Home for Boys. At the school he learned to play cornet.

After being released at age fourteen, Louis Armstrong worked selling papers, unloading boats, and selling coal from a cart. As Louis was working and hanging in the streets he heard a lot of jazz being played at local dancehalls, parties, bars, and balls. Even though Louis didn't own any instruments he still frequented many clubs to listen to the bands play. He mostly went to the Funky Butt Hall and listened to Joe "King" Oliver. Joe "King" Oliver was his favorite and the older man acted as a father to Louis, even giving him his first real cornet, and instructing him on the instrument. By 1917 he played in an Oliver inspired group at dive bars in New Orleans' Storyville section. In 1919 he left New Orleans for the first time to join Fate Marable's band in St. Louis. Marable led a band that played on the Strekfus Mississippi river boat lines. When the boats left from New Orleans Louis Armstrong also played regular gigs in Kid Ory's band. Louis stayed with Marable until 1921 when he returned to New Orleans and played in Zutty Singleton's. He also played in parades with the Allen Brass Band, and on the bandstand with Papa Celestin's Tuxedo Orchestra, and the Silver Leaf Band.

When King Oliver left the city in 1919 to go to Chicago, Louis took his place in Kid Ory's band from time to time. In 1922 Louis received a telegram from his mentor Joe Oliver, asking him to join his Creole Jazz Band at Lincoln Gardens in Chicago. This was a dream come true for Louis and his playing in the band soon made him a sensation among other musicians in Chicago.

While playing in Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, Louis Armstrong met Lillian Hardin, a piano player and arranger for the band. They got married on February 5, 1924. The young Louis Armstrong became popular through his ingenious ensemble lead and second cornet lines, his cornet duet passages with Oliver, and his solos. He recorded his first solos as a member of the Oliver band in such pieces as "Chimes Blues" and "Tears," which Lillian and Louis Armstrong composed.

Encouraged by his wife, Louis Armstrong quit Oliver's band to seek further fame. He played for a year in New York City in Fletcher Henderson's band and on many recordings with others before returning to Chicago and playing in large orchestras. There he created his most important early works, the Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of 1925-1928, on which he emerged as the first great jazz soloist. By then the New Orleans ensemble style, which allowed few solo opportunities, could no longer contain his explosive creativity. He retained vestiges of the style in such masterpieces as "Hotter than That," "Struttin' with Some Barbecue," "Wild Man Blues," and "Potato Head Blues" but largely abandoned it while accompanied by pianist Earl Hines in "West End Blues" and "Weather Bird".

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