The auditorium was packed...standing room only. The people were ready. There was an aura of splendor hovering over the audience excitement, allied with love as they waited to hear the inimitable, and, paramount musician, singer, and entertainer the world over..."Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong"
When the band kicked off the intro to "Hello Dolly," the audience went into an emotion-packed uproar as they watched their hero, with his unmistakable prance, walk to the microphone, his trumpet in one hand, his handkerchief in the other...his smile was so big, it could light up Broadway. Louie gave them want they wanted it went something like this..."Hello...Dolly...oh...Hello...Dolly..." Hearing this, the audience clapped and yelled so much, it made you think a cataclysmic eruption was eminent! His fans loved him so much, as did the rest of the world; they showed it with their hands and emotional outburst of respect and adoration for a man who stands for so much primarily, love!
On February 15, 1964, Louis recorded "Hello Dolly" it became an instant hit across the nation, while pushing the Beatles down a few notches. The incredible success of "Hello Dolly" was a remarkable triumph for a man who had revolutionized American music nearly forty years earlier. On July 6, 1971, Louis took his leave; the composite memory of him, the music of America coming from his horn, his total persona-on and off the stage, his humor, his love, which he gave to the world, all of which will linger on as long as there are ways and means to hear and see Louie, we will always have access to the most incredible musician and singer in the history of music............... "The Patron Saint of The Entertainment World."
Louie always thought of himself as, and insisted that he was, a child of the American century; born July 4th, 1900. However, the truth holds that, he was born on August 4th, 1901, which is documented in the Baptismal Registry of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in New Orleans. The actual date is not as important; but what is important is, what Louis gave to the world...he gave of himself!
Louis grew up in the ghetto of New Orleans; in the area known as Storyville; the boarding houses and the red light district. On one 4th of July, fireworks were going off everywhere. Now Louie, without any fireworks, borrowed a pistol and began shooting some rounds into the air; subsequently, he was abducted by the local authorities and put in the Colored Waif Home, which was founded by Captain Joseph Jones.
From the video documentary, "Satchmo," Edward R. Murrow asked Louie, "What was it like in the Waif Home?" Louie had this to say..."There was a music teacher name Mr. Peter Davis. He didn't notice me at first, he thought I was one of da bad boys from the street. Then one day, he asked me to be the bugler...this was good, I could play the blues. When I got out, I went right to see King Oliver. I know his wife, Mrs. Oliver, she always give me dem red beans and rice. What I want more than anything is lessons. Oliver gave me lessons-I was ready."
Louis was a quick learner. In 1918, King Oliver and his band went to the Lincoln Gardens in Chicago. Louis was asked to take Oliver's place with the hottest band in New Orleans, "Kid Ory and His Creole Jazz Orchestra." Then in 1922, Louis joined up with the "Tuxedo Jazz Band." It was this year that King Oliver called for Louie to come to Chicago and play second trumpet at the Lincoln Gardens. In the same interview with Murrow, he asked Louie..."Did that make you happy?" Louie's smile got bigger "OH - Yeah...could nobody get me out of New Orleans."
King Oliver played with the same style as Louie, but with a softer tone. Louis had some powerful shops, and because of that, in a recording session, Louis was asked to stand some distance behind so as not to overpower the band. Louie played second harmony to King's lead. Louie had an uncanny talent to anticipate a phrase King might play...without music, Louie was in there with the right harmony note. King Oliver was Louie's mentor, he served as a father image for Louie. After two years in Chicago, King Oliver and Louie made musical history. It was here in the Windy City that Louis recorded his solo effort, "Chimes Blues."
Were it not for Olivers' pianist, Lillian Hardin, the trumpet duet might have continued. She took a special interest in Louie and became the second major influence in his life. In 1924, Louie and Lillian were married. Louis was called by the great bandleader and arranger, Fletcher Henderson, to come to NewYork and play in his orchestra. It was his wife who encouraged Louis to go that same year.
So in September 1924, Louie set out to join the Henderson musical conglomerate. He brought with him, a quality of solo playing far exceeding anything that New York had heard thus far in jazz. Louie's musical ideas and the harmony knowledge he learned with Oliver, were a stimulus to action for Henderson's staff arranger, Don Redman. Louie remained with Henderson for about a year.