Louis Armstrong

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Louis Armstrong

Heroes are needed in the world to give people something to look up to,

someone to be like. Louis Armstrong over came such adversities as poverty, a

lack of good education, and racism to become one of the greatest jazz player

not just of the 1920s but of the 20th century. Armstrong was one of the

creators of Jazz and was one of the most popular entertainers from the 1920s.

Starting out at a young age he never knew that one day he would be such a

popular jazz player and also not knowing that one day he might even be

called a hero.

Armstrong was born on July 4, 1900 in the Storyville section of New

Orleans. At the age of 12 his life changed. When he was parting for New

Years Eve, he shot a gun into the air. He was soon arrested and taken to a

center for juvenile offenders. He hated being there, but loved going to see the

band at the center play everyday. When he got the chance to go play in the

band, he quickly did.

He first started out playing the Alto Horn then moved to the drums and

finally ending up with the trumpet. Two years later at the age of fourteen he

was released from the center. He went out and got jobs to help get him to be

able to afford an instrument. His jobs included, selling papers, unloading

boats, and selling coal from a cart. On his off times he would go around to

clubs like the Funky Butt Hall to listen to bands play.

A jazz musician named King Oliver saw him and was impressed at his

attendance at so many of the local clubs that he inquired of him as to if he

wanted to learn to play the cornet. Armstrong said yes. He picked it up very

quickly and soon was playing in bands for people that were absent. This soon

lead to him starting his own band. This was all at the age of seventeen.

Armstrong played with his band, known as Louis Armstrong Hot 5 or Hot

7, for two years and then King Oliver went to Chicago. Armstrong took a

spot in Kid Ory’s orchestra one of the biggest known bands in the town. He

played on the riverboats on the Mississippi River and got better at playing.

All this without even knowing how to read music. While on the riverboat he

was taught to read music which would help him out greatly later, when he

became a band conductor. In 1922 he was called to Chicago by King Oliver.

After arriving he made a change t...

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... modern

classical music. Contemporary classical composers like Darius Milhaud and

Igor Stravinsky emulated much of Armstrong's work.

In addition, Armstrong left his mark on other aspects of American culture

as his fascinating personality truly influenced a nation. Armstrong's legacy

can be traced into "dance, theater, the visual arts, fashion, poetry, and


Nobody has done more for jazz than Louis Armstrong. His contributions,

influence, and legacy are immeasurable. Louis Armstrong truly is the jazz

legend. As fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie points out, "If it weren't for him,

there wouldn't be any of us."

When there is someone who beats all the odds to come out on top and

shows you that you can do anything if you really want to. You probably will

call them a hero. Hero doesn’t just mean saving lives and helping people that

are in danger of dying, it can also be someone who makes you believe that

you can do anything that you can imagine. Louie Armstrong helped lots of

black people know that just because of their color, it didn’t mean that they

couldn’t be one of the most famous people in the world.

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