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August 04

Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet

Armstrong’s ability to play the trumpet in creative, original ways forged a new style of jazz performance and the emergence of the jazz solo.

Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-127236

1901: Horn of Plenty
Louis Armstrong is born in New Orleans, Louisiana
The great trumpeter Louis Armstrong soaked up all the pains and joys of a young man growing up poor and unequipped yet possessing an extraordinary musical talent. These emotions can be clearly heard in the jazz music he grew up to both play and sing.

There's little doubt that Armstrong was the most gifted and influential trumpet soloist in the history of the instrument. His innovations included playing high notes that had never been hit before, and holding these notes for long periods of time; creating vibrato or trembling sounds with his lips; and experimenting with rhythm to make music move, or "swing."

Armstrong's combination of singing and playing (both trumpet and cornet), plus his larger-than-life personality, made him one of the world's greatest and most memorable solo entertainers.
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