Best remembered for his risque Vegas act of the 1950s, Louis Prima was the ultimate showman. Loud, boisterous, and completely out front, his mix of rhythm and blues, big band music, Italian novelty tunes, and Dixieland made him one of the hottest performers of his era.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Prima studied violin as a child. He took up the trumpet at age fourteen after his brother, who was also a musician, went on tour and left behind an old instrument. Prima taught himself how to play and in the late 1920s began to perform professionally, influenced by Louis Armstrong and the rich jazz heritage of his hometown.