By virtue of the role he played in its evolution during the first quarter of the 20th century, Louis Armstrong is regarded as the most influential jazz musician in history. This distinction is coupled with his stewardship of jazz around the world over the next five decades as the earliest and greatest ambassador of America's first true musical art form.
With the liberating effects of the Jazz Age reverberating on world culture since the 1930s, Satchmo's contributions to society are now measured alongside those of the greatest artists, philosophers and statesmen of the modern era. In the year 2000, we celebrate the centennial of his birth on August 4, 1901a date that Louis took with him throughout his life. While historical evidence discovered nearly two decades after his 1971 death suggested a different birth date, there has never been any conclusive reason to dispute Pops' own c.v.
Vital and productive from the 1920s to the 1960s, Louis Armstrong provided jazz with its quantum leap forward - his Hot Five and Hot Seven group recordings for the OKeh Records label between 1925 and 1928. They were the culmination of all he had accomplished in music to that point. Born in abject poverty in the worst black slum in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, his father was a workman and his mother a maid and prostitute. Louis and his younger sister roamed the red light district of Storyville, until his delinquency landed him in the Colored Waifs Home around age 12. In the institution's band he learned several instruments, eventually settling on cornet.