August 4, 1901 - July 6, 1971
Cornet, Trumpet, Singer

Louis Armstrong, cornet and trumpet player, singer, and recognized as one of the most -- if not the most -- influential person in all American music. One of his most important contributions was to popularize a rhythmic approach in improvising that became known as jazz swing feeling, the 4/4 swing tempo that is now the standard characteristic of jazz. Louis, also, made the role of the soloist far more important than it ever had before. Without these two influences, swing music may never had existed. Other contributions by Louis: was the "scat" vocal; the structural format of theme-solo-theme; a progression from the melody, to routine-ing the melody, to routine-ing the routine; the jazz lingo.

Bing Crosby is credited with the statement "American music begins and ends with Louis Armstrong". Dizzy Gillespie noted at the time of Louis' death that, "never before in the history of black music had one individual so completely dominated an art form as the Master, Daniel Louis Armstrong. His style was equally copied by saxophonists, trumpet players, pianists and all of the instrumentalists who make up the jazz picture." Others have noted that even singers, such as Billie Holiday as just one example, utilized Louis Armstrong's phrasing. Louis influenced virtually every musician who came after him. His phraseology is so deeply a part of American popular music that, today, almost no one can tell whether they are singing, and playing in a style developed by Louis Armstrong.