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Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five, Louis Armstrong House Museum

Our debut episode of Listening with Leckrone takes us back to the early career of Louis Armstrong. While Louis Armstrong is a well-known and highly regarded musician, most folks likely associate him only with his later works. (Personally, I recall my introduction to Mr. Armstrong was in elementary school when we would sing “What a Wonderful World” at assembly - Sam Taylor). Yet that record, along with some other hits like “Hello, Dolly!” were released in the last decade of his 50 year career.

In this episode, Mike takes us through Louis’ early career as a young trumpetist jumping from band to band, from Chicago to New York then back to Chicago again. In listening to samples of his early works, we can hear how Louis’ unique style begins to develop. As we trace his many solos and features, we witness how he explores and expands his musical vocabulary, both as a horn player and a vocalist. We also get to hear about the many collaborators that helped him blossom as an artist, folks like King (Joe) Oliver, Lil Harden, and Earl Hines.

If you’d like to learn more, read Louis’ Children: American Jazz Singers by Leslie Gourse or Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Development by Gunther Schuller, both referenced in today’s episode. You can also visit to learn more about Louis’ life and browse their extensive collection.

We’ve created a companion playlist which includes the songs featured in today’s episode as well as some extra treats. Check it out on Spotify

A transcript of this episode can be accessed here.

Audio Clips of Louis Armstrong:

  • “Louis on Joe Oliver”; Louis Armstrong Interview with Steve Allen; London, 1968
  • “Satchmo Speaks: About How to Learn to Play Trumpet”; Louis Armstrong House Museum

Songs Featured in Today’s Episode: 

  • “Hello, Dolly!”; Written by J. Herman; Performed by Louis Armstrong; Published by Verve Reissues, 1963
  • “Chimes Blues”; Written by J. Oliver; Performed by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band; Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1923
  • “Sugar Foot Stomp”; Written by J. Oliver; Performed by Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra, Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1925
  • “Gut Bucket Blues”; Written by L. Armstrong; Performed by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five, Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1925
  • “Big Butter and Egg Man”; Written by L. Armstrong, P. Venable; Performed by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five, Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1926
  • “Heebie Jeebies”; Written by B. Atkins; Performed by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five; Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1926
  • “Potato Head Blues”; Written by L. Armstrong, Performed by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven; Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1927
  • “West End Blues”; Written by J. Oliver, C. Williams; Performed by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five; Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1928
  • “Stardust”; Written by H. Carmichael, M. Parish; Performed by Louis Armstrong, Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1931
  • “Lazy River”; Written by H. Carmichael, S. Arodin; Performed by Louis Armstrong; Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1932
  • “Weather Bird”; Written by L. Armstrong; Performed by Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines; Published by Columbia/Legacy, 1928
  • “What a Wonderful World”; Written by G.D. Weiss, G. Douglas, Performed by Louis Armstrong; Published by GRP, 1967



2 Responses to “Episode 1 Guide – Hello, Louis!: How Louis Armstrong Found His Sound”

  1. David Jones

    Man, I jumped on this as soon as I saw an FB posting by Mike’s daughter. I even wrote an email to Sarah Marty about 6 months ago with regards to Mike doing podcasts and/or Patreon vids. This is fantastic and I’m subscribed! My only observation is that I nearly had to turn up the volume to “Eleven” (Spinal Tap quote) to catch everything. Not for my sake, but if you would, check your final levels – I want to hear more! (not just volume, but more episodes!) Thanks, Sam! This is a great things you and Mike are doing! (I may not have thought of it first but, great minds DO think alike!)

  2. Terence J. O'Grady

    I enjoyed Prof. Leckrone’s podcast on Louis Armstrong immensely. He made a number of excellent points regarding what made Armstrong’s music so effective without being overly technical or obscure. Great job.

    I met Prof. Leckrone at UW-Madison close to 50 years ago when I was a graduate student writing a dissertation on the Beatles and he had recently started teaching a course on popular music and jazz at the University (to go along with all of his marching band duties etc.) . He was always very friendly and encouraging. It’s nice to still be able to hear his words of wisdom about popular music and jazz.


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