Louis Armstrong Essay

2141 words - 9 pages

Louis Armstrong

"He was born in the south at a time when a black boy could expect nothing but to grow up, work hard at the lowest jobs all his life, and hope somehow, somewhere manage to stay healthy and get a little out of life."(P.1 Collier) Get a little out of life Louis did, a pure genius he revolutionized America's first true form of art, jazz. Doing a paper on Louis Armstrong has been enjoyable to do and the information that is available on Armstrong is endless. So much that this paper is going to concentrate on Louis Childhood how he got involved with music and the early years of his music career with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band and the recordings of the Hot 5's and Hot 7's. Satchmo, which is only one of his nicknames originated from people saying he had a mouth like a satchel, is a truly an extraordinary man. He started his life living in the slums of New Orleans, but would go one and play in front of some of the most important people in the world such as presidents, kings, and queens.
Piecing together the facts around Armstrong's birth and childhood is difficult. What is known depends almost entirely on what he later told people. He was born sometime around 1900. Louie was raised by his grandmother Josephine Armstrong as an infant. His father abandoned him and his mother around the time of his birth. Louis spoke scathingly about his father when he spoke about him at all. He loathed his father so much that he told reporter Larry King, "I was touring Europe then my father died. Didn't go to his funeral, didn't send nothing. Why should I He never had no time for me or Maryann (his mother)." (p. 19 Coller)
Louis had a genuine affection for his mother, though she was very undependable, leaving her son to take care of himself and his sister for days at a time. There is very little we know of Armstrong's family as you can see.
Louis grew up in New Orleans in a tough area known, as "The Battle Field" where knife fights and gun play were common. At the age of about seven he moved to black Storyville. It consisted of dance halls honky tonks and brothels. It was an entertainment district like London's Soho. He grew up with music all around him. He could hear music from outside is house when he woke up and when he went to bed.
It is recorded that Louis did attend school at the Fisk school where he learned to read and write. How long he attended this school is another mystery. One fact we do know about Louis is that he was arrested on New Years Eve 1912 for shooting a gun. Louis was around eleven at the time, and this was a very serious offense. He was sent to the Coloreds Waif House a reform school on the out skirts of New Orleans. Here Louis was introduced to organized music in the form of the school band. The school band was run by Captain Joseph Jones in a military fashion that was extremely strict. This is where Louis's life changed from delinquent to a disciplined young man this was also when Louis was introduced to playing...

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