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Louis Armstrong

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  • October 2012
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At the age of 36 one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, Louis Armstrong, wrote an autobiography named Swing That Music. Louis Armstrong was the most successful and talented jazz musician in history according to many critics, fellow musicians, fans, and friends. He took jazz in its rawest state, and turned it into an art form for all to enjoy. His innovations and expansive career continues to make waves in the jazz world, which is why he will always be considered a jazz legend. In his autobiography, Armstrong describes his rough road to becoming a star in the jazz world - from the hardships of his devastating childhood in New Orleans, through his expansion north to Chicago and New York, as well as his tours in Europe. However, Armstrong never exclaims any type of self pity in this autobiography. He rolls with the punches and makes even the gloomiest situations seem okay; situations in which most people would have ‘thrown in the towel’. His autobiography, within itself, shows how Armstrong saw the beauty in even the worst things, and what I intend to focus on is how this positive outlook on life led him to superstardom.

Louis Armstrong was born on August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans. He lived with his mother and father and his sister, Beatrice, who he called, Mamma Lucy. His mother, Mary Ann worked as a house servant for a “fine old” white family. He only had nice things to say about her - “My mother was a good and fine woman” (Armstrong, 2) His father, Willie, was a turpentine worker. At the age of 5, his parents divorced and Louis stayed with his mother and Mamma Lucy. He never spoke much about his father. Armstrong was born into notoriously violent neighborhood in New Orleans; it had earned the nickname “The Battlefield”. He described how in order to prove himself; he had to fight a few of the older kids until he was accepted. His mother told him to stay out of trouble though, and for the most part, he did. It was with this group of kids in...

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