Copyright by Flora Breen Robison
Legendary Jazz Musician
More than any other star of jazz music, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong transcended genres, eras, races, and countries . He is just as famous now as he was when he died 40 years ago in 1971- just shy of his 70th birthday. People who never listen to jazz music and don’t recognize the names of jazz musicians who were superstars of the big band era listen to Armstrong. It was this universality of Satchmo that made him the perfect person to sing a song about uniting people of all races in a time of upheaval. “What a Wonderful World” was written specifically for for Louis Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong was a professional musician for nearly all of his life. He started his career at the age of 13 and it ended only when he died. He was singer, trumpeter and cornet player. Louisiana native Armstrong recorded every sub-genre of jazz music as well as pop and Broadway. He collaborated with every major musician and movie musical star of his era. These include but are not limited to Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald. He is a big influence on several musicians, including a lot of stars of Motown. His unique and recognizable voice has been imitated by every music mimic. Everyone *loved and loves* this man.
Armstrong had a long career in movies as well as on stage and radio. Although he only appeared as an actor in 14 movies, his career on movie soundtracks continues to this day. So far, he has 154 soundtrack credits. His version of the title track to Hello, Dolly! in which he also starred made him the oldest musician to achieve a number 1 record. He was 63 years old. Including the songs he recorded more than once, Mr. Armstrong recorded over 90 songs.
Armstrong has received a multitude of awards both before and after his death. He is in the Grammy Hall of fame, has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as an influential musician, and in two jazz halls of fame, to name a few. The following poem includes but a handful of my favourite Armstrong hits.
The Louis Armstrong Song
What A Wonderful World it is When You’re Smilin’ at me.
You make this cafe seem like a Cabaret.
I feel like it’s Summertime when I’m with you,
Even when That Lucky Old Sun has the winter off.
A kiss from you is A Kiss To Build A Dream On.
We Have All The Time In the World to plan the future;
Until then we’ll tell people we’ve Gone Fishin’
Up A Lazy River where no one can find us.
When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,
We’ll go back home to Blueberry Hill
And forget to set the alarm clock.
Dream A Little Dream Of Me, and of us.
Louis Armstrong was a jazz musician and singer who transcended generations with his music
Source: By World-Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons