Louis Daniel Armstrong
(August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo
, was an American trumpeter and singer from New
Orleans, Louisiana. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an innovative
cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence on jazz
, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performers. With his distinctive gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also greatly skilled at scat singing, or vocalizing, using syllables instead of actual lyrics. Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and deep, instantly recognizable voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extended
well beyond jazz, and by the end of his career in the '60s, he was widely
regarded as a profound influence on
popular music in general: critic Steve Leggett describes Armstrong as "perhaps
the most important American musician of the 20th century."
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers once proclaimed that "Louis Armstrong was probably the greatest musician that ever lived...one note implies that if he wanted to he could play ten billion notes, but just one simple note is a beautiful thing.
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