Louis Armstrong Day

July 04, 1900 – July 06, 1971

Louis Armstrong in Disneyland

Trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong and his family says he was born on July 4th, 1900.

It’s possible he changed the year from 1901 to 1900 in order to appear a year older so that he could qualify for military service which he applied for during WW I.

Theories that he was born on August 4th are unsubstantiated

The only evidence of the August date is a handwritten note in a church ledger that few, including many Armstrong scholars, have ever actually seen. There is no existing birth certificate for Armstrong (a not-uncommon situation for people born in his era) and there is no existing Baptismal certificate.

Therefore, Jazz on the Tube celebrates Louis Armstrong’s birthday on the day he and his family say he was born.

The young Louis, despite being raised in harsh economic conditions, received support and training from his community which included Afro-American, Jewish and Italian families.

Peter Davis of the Colored Waif’s Home, an institution that took care of children in trouble, introduced him to music and musicianship.

At 22, Armstrong boarded a train for Chicago. The course of American music would forever be changed.

It is hard to overestimate Armstrong’s influence on jazz; some key aspects of the music, like extended improvised solos and scat singing, owe most of their existence to him.

Armstrong was more than a musician — he isan American icon.

In a TV broadcast originally aired on April 15th 1962 Louis Armstrong performs in Disneyland aboard the riverboat Mark Twain also featuring Monette Moore vocals, Mike DeLay trumpet, Kid Ory trombone, Paul Barnes clarinet, Harvey Brooks piano, Johnny St. Cyr banjo, and Alton Redd drums.

This footage is taken from “Disneyland After Dark” an episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” with a band including the two former members of Louis Armstrong’s “Hot Five”, Kid Ory and Johnny St. Cyr.

Set List: 

1 “Lazy River”
2 “Muskrat Ramble”
3 “Bourbon Street Parade”