One cannot educate themselves about jazz without learning about the man who embodied it. Louis Armstrong was born on August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans. It is documented that Louis grew up in poverty, with an irresponsible mother and a father who was absent since his birth. James Lincoln Collier, author of Louis Armstrong, An American Genius, describes Louis’s childhood environment on page twenty-two of his book, “It was a district of run down wooden shanties...Back yards were patches of mud or dirt. The residents were mostly black, and the houses were crowded. Sanitation was primitive.” Death by guns or knives was a regular occurrence, and alcoholism as well as other drug addictions were common as well (Collier 22). This does not seem like an ideal place for children to be raised, but these descriptions provide an insight on Louis’s early life and the experiences that may have shaped him. Louis’s mother, though warm and caring, would often disappear for days at a time, leaving he and his little sister with their grandmother. This unstable home life put Louis in a posit...
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...again reached the top. Louis continued playing until 1969, when health issues forced him to stop performing. At this point in time, Louis was living in Queens, New York, which is where he passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 6, 1971.
Even though Louis Armstrong faced many adversities throughout his lifetime, he always persevered. It is noted that Louis always kept a positive attitude and was known for his rambunctious personality. He loved music, and his skillful playing of the cornet, and later the trumpet, earned him several nicknames. These included “Pops” or “Satchmo”. Louis Armstrong’s music is truly ageless and some of his best hits, such as “What a Wonderful World”, “Hello Dolly!” and “La Vie En Rose” are still well known today. Not only did Louis influence those that he played with, but also artists that came after him...and he will continue to do so.
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