美國100位歷史名人榜(79)Louis Armstrong

 

"Louis Armstrong's station in the history of jazz is umimpeachable. If it weren't for him, there wou

"Louis Armstrong's station in the history of jazz is umimpeachable. If it weren't for him, there wouldn't be any of us." Dizzy Gillespie, 1971

Louis Daniel Armstrong(August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971)nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" 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 extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general.

Early Days in New Orleans 
Armstrong was born in one of the poorest sections of New Orleans on Aug. 4, 1901. "He was a prodigy," says art historian and curator Marc Miller, "a hard-working kid who helped support his mother and sister by working every type of job there was, including going out on street corners at night to sing for coins." At age 7, he bought his first real horn--a cornet. When Armstrong was 11 years old, juvenile court sent him to the Jones Home for Colored Waifs for firing a pistol on New Year's Eve. While there, he had his first formal music lessons and played in the home's brass band. After about 18 months he was released. From then on, he largely supported himself as a musician, playing with pick-up bands and in small clubs with his mentor Joe "King" Oliver. Oliver was one of a handful of noted musicians in New Orleans--along with Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and others--who were creating a distinctive and widely popular new band music out of blues and ragtime. Soon, sheet music publishers and record companies would make jazz a household name.

Chicago and New York 
The early 1920s saw Armstrong's popularity explode as he left New Orleans for Chicago to play with "King" Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, and then moved on to New York, where he influenced the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra with improvisation and a new musical vocabulary.

When he returned to Chicago in 1926, he was a headliner on records and radio, and in jazz clubs, wowing audiences with the utter fearlessness and freedom of his groundbreaking trumpet solos. His "scat" singing transformed vocal tradition and musicians studied his recordings to hear what a horn could do. It has been said that Armstrong used his horn like a singer's voice and used his voice like a musical instrument.

Louis Armstrong: A Cultural Legacy was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency, and by the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support was provided by Mobil Foundation Inc. The exhibition was part of "America's Jazz Heritage," A Partnership of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the Smithsonian Institution. Organized by the Queens Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in cooperation with the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College, City University of New York, the exhibition made its eighth--and final--stop at the National Portrait Gallery. The Washington showing of Louis Armstrong: A Cultural Legacy was made possible through the generous support of Infiniti, a Division of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A.

 

Louis Armstrong出身紐奧良貧民區,很小他父親就拋棄家庭,不知所終,但困窘的生活並不影響少年阿姆斯壯對音樂的追求,他在社會最底層長大,還曾經進過少年感化院,所幸他在感化院學會了吹短號(cornet),開始接觸音樂,沒幾年的時間,18歲的阿姆斯壯,已經是紐奧良知名的演奏者了,成為當時最紅的娃娃歐瑞Kid Ory樂團的短號手,1922年,加入奧立佛國王Joe King Oliver樂團,在前輩奧立佛的指導調教之下,阿姆斯壯進步神速,逐漸建立起他作為一位偉大獨奏者的地位。  
早在20年代,Louis Armstrong就已是一位知名的小號手,不過更引人注意的是他那低沉渾厚的歌聲。在多個樂隊與錄音室專輯的磨合之後,1927年以他為名的樂隊--Louis Armstrong And His Stompers 誕生,同年並首次以歌手的身份進入暢銷排行榜。隨後,Louis Armstrong還加入了舞臺劇、百老匯及電影的音樂工作,在英國、歐洲等地區展開長期的巡迴演唱活動,成功的單曲、專輯也不斷地發表,即使第二次世界大戰期間,依然沒有停歇,並不斷地創造出無數銷售成功的單曲與高度評價的專題作品。 
 
綜觀Louis Armstrong一生,作為一位爵士樂手的他,不僅擁有成功的樂隊、受歡迎的唱片,並曾和Duke EllingtonElla Fitzgerald等知名樂手及頂尖歌手合作,受到爵士樂界極度地推崇,甚至於其歌唱才華與極具辨識度的獨特嗓音,在歌壇上亦是無人能仿效,因而跨界成為流行音樂的巨星,雖然作品眾多,但一點也未減少他在音樂上的成就與表現,亦不斷地被後世之人所欣賞與鍾愛,並且頻繁地被運用來為廣告、電視及電影,鋪陳營造或浪漫、或輕鬆、或溫馨的氣氛,倍增地平添劇情的吸引力與張力。

  

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