Louis Armstrong (Daniel Louis Armstrong), known as
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).