Louis Armstrong and the Birth of Trumpet in Jazz

Louis Armstrong pic
Louis Armstrong
Image: history1900s.about.com

Currently pursuing a law degree with a focus on animal rights issues, Maral Cavner holds a degree in sociology from Emory University. Maral Cavner has a background riding horses and playing high school soccer and tennis, and has played the trumpet for more than a decade. Incorporated in classical music for centuries, the trumpet came to the forefront in American music in the early 20th century as one of the primary jazz instruments.

The trumpet’s formalized role as a lead instrument came about through Joseph “King” Oliver’s Chicago band of the early 1920s, which introduced Louis Armstrong as a soloist on early classics such as Sobbing Blues. When Armstrong moved to New York in 1924, he joined a pioneering jazz big band and subsequently created the Hot Five, which showcased the trumpet even more prominently. Songs such as Jeepers Creepers effectively combined trumpet with the genesis of modern jazz vocals, including gravelly voiced scatting.

With late ‘20s Louis Armstrong songs such as West End Blues and Potato Head Blues, which featured the piano counterpoint of Earl Hines, the trumpet truly came to the fore. This template that would stand until bebop artists such as Dizzy Gillespie intentionally broke the mold following World War II.