For an instrument with such a long and interesting history attached to it, one would expect that there should be a lot of good trumpet players. As a matter of fact, there are more than just good trumpeters, there are legendary players, who throughout the years have turned into cultural phenomenons especially in the jazz culture. Just to mention a few of them – Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Chet Baker and many, many others. But the most famous of them all is Louis Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong – the Famous Trumpet Player
Louis Armstrong or Satchmo, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to state records his date of birth was 4th August 1901, although that, Armstrong himself has stated several times that he was born on 4th July 1900. He was born and grew in great poverty in a ghetto of New Orleans, known as “The Battlefield”. His father left him and his mother, Mary Albert, very early on, and Louis was taken care of by his grandmother.
A Lithuanian Jewish family, called the Karnoffskys, gave small jobs and tasks to the little Louis and treated him kindly since they too were a target of racism. It was during that time when he first “met” music. In his memoir, Louis tells of him watching other boys playing in spasm bands (bands that use household items to make music out of). Eventually, he joined one such band, playing a tin tube, a homemade clarinet. What Armstrong didn’t know at that time, was that the musical subculture of colored young men in New Orleans, would eventually rise into Jazz.
Armstrong’s first professional performances began on ships along the Mississippi River. He, after all, moved to Chicago and later to New York, playing in many bands and orchestras.
His big break came when he started singing too. Louis Armstrong is known for his distinct mixed trumpet playing and singing style of music. He ultimately became an inspiration to whole generations of musicians and singers.
What is so interesting and inspiring in Louis Armstrong’s case, is that at first he never received any theoretical or practical musical training. Since an early age, just like many other boys at that time, Louis stayed at places where music was played and was trying to mimic what was being played only by ear. Armstrong gave credit to King Oliver, as the person who taught him most about music and playing by ear in general. What Louis said about those times was “Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans…It has given me something to live for.”
Louis Armstrong passed away on 6th July 1971, he is not only considered to be the greatest trumpeter of all time, but he is also one of the most famous musicians and singers of the 20th century.
If you too want to learn how to play the instrument that Louis Armstrong got to learn on the streets of New Orleans, then you should practice playing on our trumpet app.