Arrangements were constructed in the call-and-response manner (e.g., the brass section “calls,” the reed section “responds”), and many tunes were based upon “riffs,” identifiable musical passages repeated throughout the song. “I wondered what he could possibly do with that big fish horn voice of his, but finally I told him to try it. After his early success playing second cornet in Joe "King" Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in Chicago, where Armstrong met and married pianist Lil Hardin, he moved to New York at Lil’s urging, and joined Fletcher Henderson’s big band. famous dance band of Fletcher Henderson. From there, he moved to Black Swan, one of the first black-owned record companies, as a session musician with singers such as Ethyl Waters. Armstrong enjoyed working with Oliver, but Louis's second wife, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, urged him to seek more prominent billing and develop his newer style away from the influence of Oliver. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. His influence upon Henderson's tenor sax soloist, Coleman Hawkins, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period. The rhythm section was established as piano, bass, guitar, and drums; and the trumpet, trombone, and reed sections composed the front line. When Armstrong arrived in New York, he was met by some of the band members, resplendent in bespoke English suits at $110 (more than a month’s wages for most working-class earners), plus spats and expensive shoes. That album is now worth from $50 to $125, depending on its condition. After his arrival in 1924, Henderson began incorporating some of that swinging rhythm into his band sound. Once in New York, Henderson abandoned school and took a job playing songs in a music store. From guitar strings to steel drums, see what your smarts are made of in this study of instruments. [20] The Henderson Orchestra was playing in the best venues for white-only patrons, including the famed Roseland Ballroom, featuring the classy arrangements of Don Redman. He was used to bands that were a solid team, and he was unhappy with the way his fellow band members put on airs, arrived late, drank lethal Prohibition alcohol on the job, and took music lightly. Updates? Armstrong sang (and acted) “Everybody Loves My Baby” and was a big hit. Is there a musical instrument made from a sheep? Armstrong was allowed to play a cornet solo with just piano accompaniment on a song called “La Veda,” which apparently went over well. Today, jazz ensembles around the world still follow his lead. Henderson was born in Cuthbert, Ga., on Dec. 18, 1897, and started learning piano at the age of 6. Although Henderson had shown an interest in music from childhood, he knew little about jazz until he was in his 20s. At twenty, he could read music. It was she who talked him into quitting the Creole Jazz Band and moving to New York to join Fletcher Henderson’s big band. After playing in New York, Armstrong returned to Chicago, playing in large orchestras; there he created his most important early recordings. . Soon his act included singing and telling tales of New Orleans characters, especially preachers. He never worked again and died two years later, in 1952, at the age of 55. He played piano for leading Black singers on more than 150 records between 1921 and 1923 and then began a full-time career as a bandleader. By the time Henderson was in high school, he was an accomplished pianist. During his orchestra's peak years in the 1920s and '30s, he helped define the sound of big-band jazz, pioneering musical ideas which today are taken for granted. Lil’s influence eventually undermined Armstrong’s relationship with his mentor, especially concerning his salary and additional moneys that Oliver held back from Armstrong and other band members. Although the band had played major venues and been heard on the radio and in recordings, its finances were frequently in disarray, and musicians often left without notice to join other outfits. He formed a sextet in 1950 that became the house band at New York’s Cafe Society, but he suffered a stroke soon thereafter and was forced to retire. Despite white bandleader Paul Whiteman’s claims to have put together the first "jazz orchestra" (he employed jazz musicians but did not play true jazz, playing dance music and more ambitious music – including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue – instead) it was black bandleader Henderson who is credited with the first genuine "big band" jazz orchestra. Throughout his riverboat experience, Armstrong's musicianship began to mature and expand.