Louis Armstrong

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4 August 1901, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, d. 6 July 1971, New York City, New York, USA. It is impossible to overstate Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong’s importance in jazz, as he was one of the most influential artists in the music’s history. He was also more than just a jazz musician, he was an enormously popular entertainer (a facet upon which some critics frowned) and although other black jazz men and women would eventually be welcomed in the upper echelons of white society, Armstrong was one of the first. He certainly found his way into millions of hearts otherwise closed to his kind. Had Armstrong been born white and privileged, his achievement would have been extraordinary; that he was born black and in desperately deprived circumstances makes his success almost miraculous. Armstrong achieved this astonishing breakthrough largely by the sheer force of his personality.

Louis Armstrong was born and raised in and around the...

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