Louis Armstrong

1901 - 1971

Louis Armstrong grew up poor in a single-parent household. He was 13 when he celebrated the New Year by running out on the street and firing a pistol that belonged to the current man in his mother's life. At the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined the home's brass band. They played at socials, picnics and funerals for a small fee. At 18 he got a job in the Kid Ory Band in New Orleans. Four years later, in 1922, he went to Chicago, where he played second coronet in the Creole Jazz Band. He made his first recordings with that band in 1923. In 1929 Armstrong appeared on Broadway in "Hot Chocolates", in which he introduced Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin', his first popular song hit. He made a tour of Europe in 1932. During a command performance for King George V, he forgot he had been told that performers were not to refer to members of the royal family while playing for them. Just before picking up his trumpet for a really hot number, he

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