Louis Armstrong, Biography of the Genius of Jazz

One of the anecdotes that most remembered Louis Armstrong took place in the 30s when he began a tour together with his musicians.


One of the anecdotes that most remembered Louis Armstrong took place in the 30s when he began a tour together with his musicians. They would tour several towns in the southern United States, taking jazz to different corners. They had hired a bus to transport the entire group.

The bus driver looked at them with distrust and also with contempt. After examining them in detail, he decided that he was not willing to take a group of blacks, who looked like poor people. They should get off. Louis Armstrong reminded him that there was a contract signed and paid, but this failed to persuade the driver.

A couple of minutes passed and the police were already there. Without a word, they arrested Louis Armstrong and his musicians, for disturbing public order. This, although they had not even claimed angrily. They all ended up in a dungeon.

At midnight, the group’s owner took out a marijuana cigarette and told Louis: “Patron, I think I have something that can bring us problems” and showed him the cigarette. Armstrong replied: “Look, son, I think the only solution is to destroy the evidence.” They both laughed and smoked that. Louis Armstrong remembered that episode again and again, in different interviews.

“If you have to ask, you’ll never know.”

-Louis Armstrong-

Louis Armstrong, a talented marginal

Louis Armstrong lived in one of the worst places, both to be black, and to be poor: Louisiana, one of the most racist states in the United States. It is known that he was born in 1900, but the exact date is unknown.

He lived through his childhood and much of his adolescence in a neighborhood called Red Light District, the most dangerous place in New Orleans. This site was the headquarters of prostitution businesses and a room for thieves, murderers and the lowest in society. There were rude cabarets there, in which, despite everything, excellent music circulated.

The place was also characterized by its Protestant churches, in which a large number of the faithful gathered to express their prayers in the form of songs. Louis Armstrong became part of the choir of one of those churches. This can be considered his musical beginning.

A childhood with everything against

Shortly after Louis Armstrong was born, his parents separated. He ended up living with his grandmother, a very devout woman. Then he went to live with his mother, Mary Ann, who was not exactly a monument to virtue.

Louis watched a large number of “stepfathers” enter and leave his home. However, the mother knew how to guide the boy so that he would not get involved with the illegal businesses that swarmed there.

On one occasion, there was a celebration and Louis Armstrong, who was just a teenager, took the weapon from one of his stepfathers and then made several shots in the air. It was an accepted custom in that neighborhood. However, there was a plainclothes policeman who saw him and took him to a reformatory. It was in that place where the boy received the first music lessons and learned to play the bugle first and the trumpet later.

From misery to success

Once he left the reformatory, Louis began working as a construction worker for the day and as a musician at night, in brothels. His talent caught the attention of famous musician King Oliver and soon after he helped him to enter the famous Kid Ory band. Then he became part of another band that played music inside a river boat.

Later, he arrived in New York and in 1925 he recorded his first album with his band, Hot Five. His fame spread markedly and by 1933 he toured Europe which became a total success. Since then, 40 years of uninterrupted successes have come. His tour of Africa, in 1960, is considered one of the most apotheosis in the history of that continent.

Louis Armstrong got married four times. The first and the third time with two girls of the night, who were not great companions for him. The second time he did it with a pianist, educated at the university, who contributed a lot. However, they failed to fully understand each other. The fourth time, he finally found anfull elicidad, that conserved until its death. The music of Louis Armstrong has influenced all popular genres after his contribution.