On July 6th, 1971, the great Louis Armstrong passed away at the age of 69. Armstrong began performing as early as 1919 and continued touring, playing, and recording up until his death. Despite his failing health, he continued to put on spirited shows with his virtuoso musicianship, mesmerizing scat singing, infectious smile, and joyful disposition. His death was met with great sorrow and even prompted President Richard Nixon to release a statement acknowledging the loss.
Armstrong’s legacy was perhaps best described in a statement by fellow jazz legend, Duke Ellington: “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.”