Louis Armstrong Birthday Broadcast

Tune in on July 4th, Independence Day, this year, as we celebrate the professed (although according to historians, not actual) birthday of Jazz great and American Hero, the trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong, by playing 24 hours straight of his music, from midnight to midnight. Louis was born in New Orleans at the turn of the century, and grew up surrounded by a vibrant musical culture, informed by the rags of Scott Joplin and the funeral marches that made up the New Orleans music scene.

Louis took up the trumpet and by 1922 was a featured soloist with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, serving as a melodic foil to the pyrotechnics of a young King Oliver. By 1924 he had quit Oliver's group, and moved to New York City to play with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra (which then also featured a young Coleman Hawkins). In 1927, Louis created some of his most famous recordings with the Hot Fivess and Hot Sevens, which featured luminaries such as Kid Ory, Lil' Hardin, Earl Hines, Johnny Dodds, Jonny St. Cyr, and a host of other greats. In 1929, Armstrong was featured as a soloist in Fats Waller's pit orchestra for the production Hot Chocolates, and received acclaim for his work on the tune "Ain't Misbehavin'". Louis would later form a prolific big band, led by Luis Russell and Carol Dickerson at points, that would go on a whirlwind tour of Europe, returning to the states in 1935.

In 1947, Louis' manager, Joe Glaser, would fire the group and form a new smaller group titled Louis Armstrong's All Stars, which would feature luminaries such as Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines, Barney Bigard, Sid Catlett, and Trummy Young. For the remainder of his life, Louis would have a string of hits with this group, and would go on to record definitive versions of tunes such as "Hello, Dolly" and "What A Wonderful World". Throughout his life, Armstrong would be the definitive model for individualism in jazz, crafting an exceedingly melodic, but pyrotechnical trumpet style that would be an influence on all after him; not to mention his gruff but soulful vocal stylings,that would have an influence on Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. While he wasn't a composer, Louis was the father of jazz as we know it today, and a profound cultural ambassador for this incredible music