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Word Count: 675
Born in August 1901 not Independence Day 1900 as he was always told and believed Louis Armstrong sang on the New Orleans streets in a boyhood quartet and in 1913 was admitted to the Colored Waifs home for firing a gun into the air In the home he learned the trumpet and within four years was challenging every trumpet king in his home town from Freddie Keppard to Joe Oliver his first father-figure whom he replaced in Kid Orys band in 1919 In 1922 Oliver by now King Oliver invited Louis to join him in Chicago to play second trumpet Tempting as it is to echo Nat Gonellas incredulous comment I cant imagine Louis playing second trumpet to anyone Oliver was able to teach Armstrong a little The regular harmonic experience of playing second his ear even then was faultless and above all the importance of playing straight lead in whole notes as Oliver did were lessons that Armstrong was to remember for lifeExperience was by now however imperceptibly toughening the young man up His second wife Lil Hardin helped to focus his streak of ambition and he was learning that people could be devious - Oliver it transpired was creaming his sidemens wages Although he loved Oliver until the end by 1924 Armstrong had made the jump to New York and Fletcher Hendersons orchestra It was hot city company for a country boy but he had the humour and talent to counter mockery I thought that meant pound plenty he quipped when the stern Henderson ticked him off for a missed pp dynamic somewhere along the way he decided he was the best and got ready to defend his title if necessary Louis played the Regal Theater in Chicago remembers Danny Barker and they had this fantastic trumpeter Reuben Reeves in the pit So in the overture they put Reuben Reeves on stage doing some of Louiss tunes Louis listened - then when he
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