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Birth-August 4 1901 New Orleans Louisiana USA Death-July 6 1971 New York City New York USA It is impossible to overstate Louis Satchmo Armstrongs importance in jazz He was one of the most influential artists in the musics history He was also more than just a jazz musician he was an enormously popular entertainer and although other black jazz men and women would eventually be welcomed in the upper echelons of white society Armstrong was one of the first He certainly found his way into millions of hearts otherwise closed to his kind Had Armstrong been born white and privileged his achievement would have been extraordinary that he was born black and in desperately deprived circumstances makes his success almost miraculous Armstrong achieved this astonishing breakthrough largely by the sheer force of his personality Louis Armstrong was born and raised in and around the notorious Storyville district of New Orleans His exact date of birth only became known in the 90s although for many years he claimed it to be 4 July 1900 a date which was both patriotic and easy to remember and as some chroniclers have suggested might have exempted him from army service Run-down apartment buildings many of them converted to occasional use as brothels honkytonks dance halls and even churches were his surroundings as he grew up with his mother and younger sister His childhood combined being free to run the streets with obligations towards his family who needed him to earn money His formal education was severely restricted but he was a bright child and swiftly accumulated the kind of wisdom needed for survival long before the term existed Louis Armstrong was streetwise From the first he learned how to hustle for money and it was a lesson he never forgot Even late in life when he was rich and famous he would still regard his career as a hustle As a child apart from regular work among the means
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