The Postal Service honored Louis Armstrong with the issuance of a 32-cent commemorative stamp, in a pane of 20, on September 1, 1995, at Armstrong Park, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Louis Armstrong, byname Satchmo (diminutive of "Satchel Mouth"), was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 4, 1901. At age 13, Armstrong began playing in the brass band of the New Orleans Waifs' Home for Boys. After playing as a cornetist in both New Orleans and Mississippi riverboat bands, Louis broke onto the emerging jazz scene when he joined the King Oliver Band in Chicago in 1922.
After impressing New York band leader Fletcher Henderson with his improvisational skills, Louis was invited to join Henderson's band in the autumn of 1924. Frustrated by the short length of the solos afforded him, Armstrong returned to Chicago to start his own group, the "Hot Five" (occasionally "Hot Seven"). This group produced a number of prized recordings that today represent some of the finest examples of the classic Chicago Dixieland jazz. In the early '30s, Armstrong made the first of many successful European tours. His unique brand of improvising and "scat" singing gave Armstrong multifaceted appeal that landed him roles in films, on radio, and later in television. This early style of jazz vocalizing involved imitating the sounds and phrases of the instrument. With his deep range and raspy vocal quality, Armstrong switched from trumpet to voice in such classics as "What a Wonderful World" and "Hello Dolly." The ingenuity of his solos, both vocally and instrumentally, combined with his endearing personality, earned him the nickname "Pops" among younger jazz musicians. Long after his death on July 6, 1971, Louis Armstrong remains the most famous and beloved of all jazz musicians.
Designed by Dean Mitchell of Overland Park, Kansas, the Louis Armstrong stamp was the first addition to the Postal Service's 1995 Legends of American Music Stamp series.
This series began in 1993 and has featured all generations of American music, including jazz, folk, classical, and gospel.
Sterling Sommer, Inc. produced the stamp in the offset process.
Reference: Postal Bulletin (August 3, 1995)
Scott Catalogue USA: 2982
Copyright United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
Museum ID: 1996.2066.224