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A jazz pioneer, Louis Armstrong was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music's history. As a trumpet virtuoso, his playing, beginning with the 1920s studio recordings he made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, charted a future for jazz in highly imaginative, emotionally charged improvisation. For this, he is revered by jazz fans. But Armstrong also became an enduring figure in popular music due to his distinctively phrased baritone singing and engaging personality, which were on display in a series of vocal recordings and film roles. He weathered the bebop period of the '40s, growing ever more beloved worldwide. By the '50s, Armstrong was widely recognized, even traveling the globe for the US. .State Department and earning the nickname "Ambassador S...

Photos © Tony Frank
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