Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong (Daniel Louis Armstrong), known as "Satchmo" and "Pops," 1901–1971, American jazz trumpet virtuoso, singer, and bandleader, b. New Orleans. He learned to play the cornet in the band of the Waif's Home in New Orleans, and after playing with Kid Ory's orchestra he made several trips (1918–21) with a Mississippi riverboat band. He joined (1922) King Oliver's group in Chicago, where he met and married the pianist Lilian Hardin. His early playing was noted for improvisation, and his reputation as trumpeter and as vocalist was quickly established. A famous innovator, Armstrong was a major influence on the melodic development of jazz in the 1920s; because of him solo performance attained a position of great importance in jazz. He organized several large bands, worked with most of the masters of jazz (and with many of those in other musical forms), and beginning in 1932 made numerous foreign tours. Armstrong appeared in Broadway shows, at countless jazz festivals, and in several American and foreign films. His archives are housed at Queens College, which also maintains his Queens, N.Y., home as a museum.

See his memoir, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (1954, repr. 1986); his selected writings ed. by T. Brothers (1999); biographies by G. Giddens (1988), L. Bergreen (1997), and T. Teachout (2009); study by J. L. Collier (2 vol., 1983–86); J. Berrett, Louis Armstrong Companion (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Louis Armstrong, in His Own Words: Selected Writings
Louis Armstrong; Thomas Brothers.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans
Louis Armstrong.
Prentice Hall, 1954
Horn of Plenty: The Story of Louis Armstrong
Robert Goffin; James F. Bezou.
Allen, Towne & Heath, 1947
Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History
Robert Walser.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 17 "What Is Swing?" by Louis Armstrong, Chap. 30 "Bop Is Nowhere," and Chap. 42 "Louis Armstrong on Music and Politics"
The Early Swing Era, 1930 to 1941
Dave Oliphant.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Louis Armstrong" begins on p. 147
Jazz: A History
Frank Tirro.
W. W. Norton, 1993 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Louis Armstrong" begins on p. 78
The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945
Gunther Schuller.
Oxford University Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Louis Armstrong"
Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies
Robert G. O'Meally; Brent Hayes Edwards; Farah Jasmine Griffin.
Columbia University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Louis Armstrong, Bricolage, and the Aesthetics of Swing" begins on p. 256, and "Checking Our Balances: Louis Armstrong, Ralph Ellison, and Betty Boop" begins on p. 278
'Jazz and I Get Born Together' - Louis Armstrong at 100
Olsen, Eric P.
The World and I, Vol. 16, No. 8, August 2001
Men of Popular Music
David Ewen.
Ziff-Davis Publishing, 1944
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Louis Armstrong"
The Rise of a Jazz Art World
Paul Lopes.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Louis Armstrong begins on p. 111
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