Louis Armstrong Centennial - 100 Years of Satchmo
Satchmo.com's Tribute to Jazz Legend Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong Quotes and Tributes

"What he does is real, and true, and honest, and simple, and even noble. Every time this man puts his trumpet to his lips, even if only to practice three notes, he does it with his whole soul."

    -- Leonard Bernstein on Louis Armstrong (07/14/56)

"I think that anybody from the 20th century, up to now, has to be aware that if it wasn't for Louis Armstrong, we'd all be wearing powdered wigs. I think that Louis Armstrong loosened the world, helped people to be able to say "Yeah," and to walk with a little dip in their hip. Before Louis Armstrong, the world was definitely square, just like Christopher Columbus thought."

    -- South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela

"What was the greatest band of the 20th century? Forget the Beatles - it was Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and its subsequent incarnation, the Hot Seven... these bands altered the course of popular music."

    -- Playboy magazine

"He's the father of us all, regardless of style or how modern we get. His influence is inescapable. Some of the things he was doing in the 20's and 30's, people still haven't dealt with."

    -- Armstrong disciple Nicholas Payton

"Louis Armstrong is the master of the jazz solo. He became the beacon, the light in the tower, that helped the rest of us navigate the tricky waters of jazz improvisation."

    -- Ellis Marsalis

"Armstrong is to music what Einstein is to physics and the Wright Brothers are to travel."

    -- "Jazz" documentary producer Ken Burns

"(Armstrong was) the key creator of the mature working language of jazz. Three decades after his death and more than three-quarters of a century since his influence first began to spread, not a single musician who has mastered that language fails to make daily use, knowingly or unknowingly, of something that was invented by Louis Armstrong."

    -- Dan Morgenstern - Oxford Companion to Jazz

"It's America's classical music ... this becomes our tradition ... the bottom line of any country in the world is what did we contribute to the world? ... we contributed Louis Armstrong"

    -- Tony Bennett

"If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be. He is what I call an American standard, an American original."

    -- Duke Ellington

"While the Satchmo Legacy tour was under way, somebody asked Freddie Hubbard, "Why are you wasting your time playing this old music?" Freddie replied: "Man, you'd be surprised how much I'm learning - not only about myself, but about the musicians who came before me. You don't realize at first when you listen to Armstrong's records how great this man was and how hard that Hot Five music was to play. After the experience of reading and playing those parts, I have an even greater respect for Louis Armstrong than before"

    -- liner notes to "The Satchmo Legacy Band Salute to Pops Vol. 2"

"In my opinion, Louis Armstrong is the greatest trumpet stylist of all time and has influenced every trumpet player of his time and long after"

    -- Al Hirt

"He left an undying testimony to the human condition in the America of his time"

    -- Wynton Marsalis

"You can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played"

    -- Miles Davis

"Jazz is not - never has been - a one man show. But if I had to vote for one representative for jazz, that one would have to be Louis Armstrong"

    -- Art Hodes

"Louis Armstrong could only happen once - for ever and ever. I, for one, appreciate the ride"

    -- Bobby Hackett

One of the most recent and most honored of Louis' spiritual children, Wynton Marsalis, invoked Pops as the Thomas Edison of jazz; "All we can do" he told one group, "is be glad we live in the same century as Louis Armstrong"

"I'm proud to acknowledge my debt to the 'Reverend Satchelmouth' ... He is the beginning and the end of music in America"

    -- Bing Crosby

"Americans, unknowingly, live part of every day in the house that Satch built"

    -- noted critic Leonard Feather

"If you don't like Louis Armstrong, you don't know how to love"

    -- Mahalia Jackson

"His [film] appearances are distinguished by superb musicianship and killer energy, which when fused with his unwavering commitment to his work and one-of-a-kind enthusiasm, endow him with an almost mythic power and resonance. Love him or hate, he is unfailingly mesmerizing."

    -- film historian Donald Bogle

".. Armstrong's improvisational verve and technical virtuosity defined jazz ... and his engaging personality and ever-present grin made him a natural as the international ambassador of jazz, America's greatest gift to the world"

    -- Life Magazine ~ The 100 People Who Made The Millenium

"Pops. Sweet Papa Dip. Satchmo. He had perfect pitch and perfect rhythm. His improvised melodies and singing could be as lofty as a moon flight or as low-down as the blood drops of a street thug dying in the gutter. Like most of the great innovators in jazz, he was a small man. But the extent of his influence across jazz, across American music and around the world has such continuing stature that he is one of the few who can easily be mentioned with Stravinsky, Picasso and Joyce. His life was the embodiment of one who moves from rags to riches, from anonymity to internationally imitated innovator. Louis Daniel Armstrong supplied revolutionary language that took on such pervasiveness that it became commonplace, like the light bulb, the airplane, the telephone."

    -- Stanley Crouch; Time Magazine; June 8, 1998

"In a 1992 interview with Guitar magazine, AC/DC co-founder Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Angus Young hailed Louis Armstrong as "one of the greatest musicians of all time." He went on to explain: "I went to see [Armstrong] perform when I was a kid, and that's always stuck with me. It's amazing to listen to his old records and hear the musicianship and emotion, especially when you consider that technology, in those days, was almost nonexistent. There was an aura about him."

On The Passing Of Louis Armstrong

"Mrs. Nixon and I share the sorrow of millions of Americans at the death of Louis Armstrong. One of the architects of an American art form, a free and individual spirit, and an artist of worldwide fame, his great talents and magnificent spirit added richness and pleasure to all our lives."

    -- President Richard Nixon

"Louis is not dead, for his music is and will remain in the hearts and minds of countless millions of the world's peoples, and in the playing of hundreds of thousands of musicians who have come under his influence."

    -- Dizzy Gillespie; July 17, 1971

"He could play a trumpet like nobody else, then put it down and sing a song like no one else could."

    -- Eddie Condon

"His memory will be enshrined in the archives of effective international communications. The Department of State, for which he traveled on tours to almost every corner of the globe, mourns the passing of this great American."

    -- U.S. State Department

Louis Armstrong - In His Own Words

"I never tried to prove nothing, just wanted to give a good show. My life has always been my music, it's always come first, but the music ain't worth nothing if you can't lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience, 'cause what you're there for is to please the people."

    -- Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong

"What we play is life."

    -- Louis Armstrong

"When I go to the Gate, I'll play a duet with Gabriel. Yeah, we'll play 'Sleepy Time Down South' and 'Hello, Dolly!.' Then he can blow a couple that he's been playing up there all the time"

    -- Louis Armstrong, on his 70th birthday

"My whole life, my whole soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn," Louis Armstrong told a doctor a few months before he died in 1971. No, he wouldn't cancel an upcoming date at the Waldorf-Astoria. "The people are waiting for me," he said. "I got to do it, Doc, I got to do it."

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