April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and what better way to kick off the festivities than with the music of Louis Armstrong.
“Satch” is considered jazz’s first great soloist. His brilliant tone, powerful technique and inimitable swing forever changed how jazz was heard, played, and understood. Not just an instrumental innovator, Armstrong brought a relaxed, imaginative vocal style to popular song while introducing listeners to scat singing. As musicologist and historian Gunther Schuller observed, Armstrong’s music “served notice that jazz had the potential capacity to compete with the highest order of previously known musical expression.” Louis Armstrong continues to influence generations of artists in jazz, American popular music, and beyond.
Here’s Armstrong from early on in his career at a concert in Copenhagen, already serving as an ambassador for the music: