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Profile of the Day: Louis Armstrong

On this day in 1901, Jazz icon Louis Armstrong was born.

Image: Louis Armstrong / Library of Congress

Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana to William Armstrong and Maryann Albert. Shortly after his birth, his father abandoned the family. He grew up in poverty in a rough neighborhood known as “The Battlefield.” Armstrong only had a fifth grade education, having left school at a young age to work. He found work with the Karnofskys, a local Jewish family who treated Armstrong like family. The family had loaned him money to purchase his first cornet.

In 1913, he was sent to the Colored Waifs Home as a juvenile delinquent. It was there that he developed his cornet skills by playing in the home’s band. Once he was released, Armstrong knew he wanted to to become a musician. Joe “King” Oliver, one of the top cornet players in the city, became a mentor to Armstrong and before long, he found steady work playing in Mississippi riverboat dance bands. In 1922, he joined King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago and his reputation as a musician began to explode.

He later formed Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five and released several records to great success. He began singing on his recordings, showcasing his unique vocal sound and style. By the 1930s, Armstrong achieved great popularity and was touring throughout Europe. In addition to his music, Armstrong also found success on the big screen. He appeared in films such as High Society and Hello, Dolly!, which earned him a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance in 1964.

Armstrong died on July 6, 1971 at the age of 69. Known as “The World’s Greatest Trumpet Player,” Armstrong is remembered today as one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz.

Explore Louis Armstrong’s family tree on Geni! Perhaps you can help expand it and discover how you’re connected to the Jazz legend.

View Louis Armstrong’s Geni Profile

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The post Profile of the Day: Louis Armstrong first appeared on The Geni Blog.


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