Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 4, 1901, and died July 6, 1971. He grew influenced by music from a diverse range of races. These musicians formed a new Jazz style, better known as Creole. The new sound was a combination of uptown African American Brass and Strings Bands in the tradition of instrumental virtuosity. Armstrong band consisted of banjo, piano, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tuba, and cornet. Armstrong’s song “Potato Head Blues” (1928) is a prime example of his genius. His improvisatory aspect inserted blues from Black New Orleans, and rhythmic patterns became standard in several genres of music. The earliest documented recording of New Orleans style consisted of Armstrong and his mentor Joe Oliver.Armstrong’s popularity grew as the migration of African Americans between 1907- 1917 changed the demographics of Chicago, Louisiana, and other states. Those settling in New Orleans opened club geared towards giving entertainment for the masses. Armstrong and his bands the “Hot Seven” and “Hot Five later performed in both white and black clubs across the world. Jim Crow Laws of the south ensured clubs to be separated by race, however, in the North Musicians were not separated by race. Armstrong was music transformed Ensemble Jazz bands into solo acts with musical scales, notes, and rhythmic patterns of the African Americans. He was known for his creative emotions, improvisation vocals, and subtle changes in western instruments. Armstrong used arpeggiation and chromatic falls in chord tones to enhance the music.
Armstrong became a major player during the Big Band Jazz from 1920-1930’s. He used forms of shout choruses, double time, and stage presence excited audiences. Armstrong went a step further, by expanding into movies, radio, and signing contracts with White record labels. He advanced the power of African American musicians by using comedy to compare Jazz to other genres of music. This aspect of Armstrong performances encouraged other artists to branch out into other forms of entertainment. Especially, in the expanding field of Hollywood movies, gave Armstrong a national wide audience. He used to stage and movies to show cultural pride, giving hope to future generations of African Americans. Armstrong appeared in over 28 full-time length films from 1931 to 1969. He proved to be a versatile actor and continued to contribute to positive roles for African American in Cinema.Armstrong played the role that directly addressed stereotypes held over from slavery. Yet, he never ended his work to ensure Jazz continued to be a respected style of music. This theme recurs throughout the roles played by Armstrong. He continued to be featured in television shows and made at least one movie a year. A short list of movies is “New Orleans (1947”),” High Society” 1956), “Going places” (1938) and “Hello Dolly” (1969). He continued to tour, recording new music, and performed concerts to add several African American organizations. Some of Armstrong’s’ most famous song is “Blueberry Hill” (1949), “Mack the Knife” (1955), “Hello Dolly” (1964). Armstrong’s musicality and popularity were reaffirmed when “Hello Dolly” (1964) replaced a Beetle song as the number one song in the country in 1964.
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