A Louis Armstrong Biography
A Louis Armstrong biography can cover many aspects of the trumpeter’s life. You can learn about his relationships with Lillian Hardin and other jazz stars and his legendary West End Blues. There’s even a section about his love life. Here’s a summary. You’ll also learn about his relationship with his wife, Lillian, who helped him become the musical icon that he was.
The trumpeter Louis Daniel Armstrong, also known as Satchmo or “Pops,” is one of the most influential figures in jazz history. His career spanned five decades and many eras in the jazz world. In this biography, you will learn about the life and career of this American music legend.
Louis Armstrong became famous during the late 50s when the civil rights movement swept the nation. Blacks were often viewed as “Uncle Tom” by many of their white peers, but Armstrong was steadfast in his denial of racism. That period’s social and political climate made Armstrong’s decision to serve in a Colored Waif’s Home especially difficult.
His grandmother raised Armstrong until he was five years old. Then he was given back to his mother. During his early years, he lived in poverty in the Battlefield neighbourhood on the southern part of Rampart Street. He eventually attended the Fisk School for Boys, which was segregated but accepted by black children.
Satchmo’s West End Blues
Louis Armstrong’s West End Blues is one of the essential records in jazz history. It was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1928. However, his big band never recorded the record. It was not until 1946 that the song made its first appearance in a film. Although the film was not a hit, it did feature Armstrong sans big band and an all-star group of New Orleans musicians.
Often called “the finest sound recording of the twentieth century,” West End Blues has a soul-stirring atmosphere and powerful emotional depth. The opening cadenza of the piece is very pretty, and the trombonist, Archey’s solo, is stately and reminiscent of the music played by Louis Armstrong in the 1930s.
Satchmo’s All Stars
When Satchmo’s career began, he was a touring movie star. Years of blowing his horn caused serious damage to his lips, and he split from his wife, Lillian. He also fell out with his manager and took time off to travel around Europe. He later became a cultural diplomat for the United States and toured Africa.
Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 4, 1901. His childhood was poor, and he lived with his grandmother and uncle. His wide mouth earned him several nicknames, including “Satchmo,” “Pops,” and “Ambassador Satch.” His name was shortened to Satchmo when he visited England.
Louis Armstrong’s relationship with Lillian Hardin
Louis Armstrong’s relationship with Lillian Hardon lasted for almost 20 years. Although they separated in 1931, Hardin remained close to her husband throughout their lives. Despite the separation, she continued to work as a bandleader and soloist. After the separation, Hardin continued to work in music sporadically, but she remained close to her husband. Eventually, Hardin passed away from heart failure while on a train.
After Hardin divorced Armstrong, she continued to bill herself as “Mrs Louis Armstrong.” She hoped to capitalize on the fame of her husband. She even formed her All-Girl Orchestra that performed on NBC. She also continued to record as an accompanist and soloist.
His refusal to play in the USSR
In 1957, Louis Armstrong refused to play in the Soviet Union due to racial discrimination. This was after Black students in Little Rock, Arkansas, were attacked and threatened by hateful White people while trying to attend a newly integrated school. After hearing about the incident, Armstrong cancelled his tour of the Soviet Union. He said he was tired of playing for white people and pretending that conditions were better for Black people in the U.S. He wanted to make a statement, and the Soviet Union offered him the opportunity to do so.
However, the USSSR and the USSR had a long-standing history of cultural exchanges. The US State Department sent American musicians to the Soviet Union to perform for non-white audiences. This included Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and others. The US State Department also sent jazz artists to other countries to build relations between the US and the Soviet Union.