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Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
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Philippe Halsman, 02 May 1906 - 25 Jun 1979
Louis Armstrong, 4 Aug 1901 - 6 Jul 1971
1966 (printed 1998)
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 40.6 × 50.8 cm (16 × 20")
Costume\Dress Accessory\Handkerchief
Music\Musical instrument\Trumpet
Costume\Dress Accessory\Tie\Bowtie
Costume\Dress Accessory\Belt
Louis Armstrong: Male
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Comedian
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Jazz
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz
Louis Armstrong: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn player\Trumpeter
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of Betsy Karel) The Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the country’s first private museums, was established in 1869 to promote art and American genius. In 2014 the Works from the Corcoran Collection were distributed to institutions in Washington, D.C.
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© Philippe Halsman Archive
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born New Orleans, Louisiana
A trumpet virtuoso and innovative vocalist, jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong helped to transform the genre into an international phenomenon. In his performances of the early 1920s, he displayed the technical prowess and rhythmic ingenuity that proved critical to the development of swing. With his own band—the Hot Five—formed in 1925, Armstrong made a series of memorable recordings that secured his reputation as the first great jazz soloist; he was as skilled at improvisational “scat” as he was at melody. Armstrong’s career flourished during the swing era. After swing gave way to bebop at the close of the 1940s, he rode the wave of the Dixieland jazz revival.
In 1964, Armstrong’s recording of “Hello, Dolly!” dislodged the Beatles from the top slot on the pop charts and earned him a Grammy. When Life magazine saluted the musician in its issue of April 15, 1966, the foldout cover featured a color version of this photograph.
Nacido en Nueva Orleans, Luisiana
Trumpetista virtuoso y vocalista innovador, el pionero del jazz Louis Armstrong contribuyó a transformar dicho género en un fenómeno internacional. Ya a principios de la década de 1920 mostraba la destreza técnica y el ingenio rítmico que serían cruciales en el desarrollo del swing. En 1925 creó su banda, Hot Five, con la cual realizó grabaciones memorables que consolidaron su reputación como primer gran solista de jazz; era tan diestro en el “scat” improvisado como en la melodía. Su carrera floreció durante la era del swing. A fines de los años cuarenta, cuando el swing dio paso al bebop, Armstrong regresó al estilo Dixieland.
En 1964 la grabación “Hello, Dolly!” de Armstrong desplazó a los Beatles del primer lugar en las listas de éxitos pop y le ganó un premio Grammy. Cuando la revista Life le rindió homenaje en su número del 15 de abril de 1966, la portada desplegable llevaba una versión en color de esta fotografía.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery