Louis Armstrong

A genius stood in the background so that others might be heard.

The nine songs pressed at Gennett by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Richmond on April 6, 1923 are considered the first genuine masterpieces in jazz recording history.

These songs were also the first sound recordings of a shy 22-year-old cornet player who played in the corner so as not to drown out the others.

The steamy purgatory of the Richmond studio put the band on edge, but one band member, Lillian Armstrong, was very much at ease. Her husband blew the horn and this was his first sound recording.

Her belief in him was justified. He would become not only jazz’s most influential soloist, but also one of the most famous performers in jazz history.

His name was Louis Armstrong and he got his first recorded start in Richmond

Today these recordings are still available on record albums or compact discs in virtually every major city on the planet.



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June 19, 2012