Happy Birthday

Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong trumpet, Louis Armstrong playing trumpet
Library of Congress

Happy Birthday, Louis Armstrong, Legendary Jazz Musician and Singer

August 04, 2010
by Rachel Balik
“Louis Armstrong is jazz,” said Wynton Marsalis. “He represents what the music is all about.” Armstrong was an innovative jazz musician who not only propelled the growth of jazz as a genre, but also put the music into the pop culture limelight. He traveled throughout the United States and abroad, sharing his deft trumpet playing and distinctive voice with his many devoted fans.

Louis Armstrong’s Early Days

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans on August 4, 1901. Art historian Marc Miller says Armstrong was “a hard-working kid who helped support his mother and sister by working every type of job there was, including going out on street corners at night to sing for coins.”

He bought himself a cornet when he was only 7, but had no formal music lesson until age 11, when he was sentenced to the Jones Home for Colored Waifs for firing a pistol during a New Year’s Eve celebration.

Released 18 months later, he began supporting himself as a working musician. Armstrong was