The Jazzman. Louis Armstrong

What a Wonderful World | Christopher Clark

Clark, Christopher. What a Wonderful World. Painting. Christopherclark. Web. 30 October 2015.

Louis Armstrong, an American Jazz trumpeter, was a talented musician, singer, bandleader, soloist, and film star. Today, we know him as one of the founding fathers of Jazz, a type of music with many unique features, one important being improvisation.

With Louis playing his cornet and his talented band musicians playing various instruments such as the drums, saxophone, string bass, piano, for five decades they have recorded a music portfolio of hit songs. Much of this music is still heard and played on television, concert halls, and music schools today. It’s likely that you have noticed many of his recorded songs such as What a Wonderful World and When the Saints Go Marching In, an American gospel hymn made famous and recorded by Louis and his Orchestra on May 13, 1938.


Being a good listener is important for everyday living. However, listening with a purpose is vital in order to appreciate and understand any style of music, including the process of creating a tune. It takes a conscious effort to be a good listener. Why then would observing these details be important to understanding what you are listening? Here are the reasons why:

  • We listen to obtain information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen for enjoyment.
  • We listen to learn.

With that in mind, let’s practice being an active listener. Click the play button to each track and take a moment to listen and reflect on these Jazz selections.

  1. How does the music make you feel?
  2. What instruments can you identify in this song?
  3. Can you describe how Potato Head jazz piece ends?
  1. Musicians change the tempo of their songs all the time. Compare the beginning of the song and how is it different from the 2:35 mark?
  2. Do you recognize a part in the song where a player performed a solo? What is a solo? What do you notice the band do during the solo parts?
  1. What mood(s) can you feel from the song Hotter Than That?
  2. Jazz is exciting and fun way to practice improvisation. What do you notice Louis Armstrong do starting seconds before the 2:00 mark to around the 2:18 point in the track?


Categories: Biography

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10 replies

  1. Potato head blues is my favorite song

  2. I think that Jazz is smooth, cool, nice, good, calm. Even Basin Street Blue has lyrics!!!

  3. Jazz makes me feel free and wanting to dance around it is really fun. I hear trumpets, tambourines, drums and more instruments playing. The song “Potato Head Blues” (which is awesome) ends with all the instruments together making the same note. The song “Basin Street Blue” starts off calm then a Louis Armstrong starts to sing and at the end it gets faster which makes it strong and more likely you would like to dance like me. In a solo which means only one thing (on this case instrument or person) is on the spotlight that fills the song with a small piece of single shine. In a solo everything stops and that one thing just does what it has to do shine. In the song “Hotter Than That” I feel excited and crazy and groovy it literally feels like I’m playing the song I wish. Around 2:00 to 2:18 Louis Armstrong starts singing with the exact rhythm like the instruments. (:

  4. This is so cool and fun.

  5. You’re the best.

  6. First comment. Amazing music πŸ˜€