The Day by Day History of the
Jazz Giant Louis Armstrong Was Born
August 4, 1901
Louis Armstrong, was born in New Orleans,
Louisiana, on August 4, 1901 (according to the most recent
research), in the poorest section of town. He overcame poverty
to become one of the most important people in the history of
Louis Armstrong was called "the single most
important figure in the history of jazz" by Billboard magazine,
a publication that tracks the recording industry. The jazz
magazine Down Beat agreed. Why is Armstrong so important in the
history of this American musical art form called jazz?
No one before Armstrong had ever played the trumpet the way that
he did. He was one of the first great soloists of jazz music.
The solos he played were as interesting and innovative as any
music written at the time. Rather than follow notes on a page,
he improvised, playing what was in his head instead. This type
of playing laid the foundation for all jazz to come.
Armstrong also pioneered a type of singing. Do you know what it
The new style of singing that Louis Armstrong
pioneered was called "scat." Scat singing is a lot like
improvising on a musical instrument. Instead of singing real
words, with scat one sings nonsense words to the melody.
Armstrong became as famous for his scat singing and gravelly
voice as his trumpet playing. He recorded many songs with
another jazz great and scat singer, Ella Fitzgerald.
addition to all of his accomplishments, Louis Armstrong holds
the record for being the oldest artist ever to have a Number 1
record. He accomplished this when he was 63 years old with his
version of the song "Hello, Dolly," from the musical of the same
name. What is even more extraordinary is that he reached Number
1 in 1964 by toppling the Beatles from the top of the charts!
Louis Armstrong had come a long way from his poor Louisiana