Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an innovative cornet and trumpet virtuoso, Armstrong was a foundational influence on jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performers. With his distinctive gravelly voice, Armstrong was an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also greatly skilled at scat singing, or wordless vocalizing.
Armstrong often claimed falsely to be a Freemason, but the lodge he named as his turned out to be nonexistent.
Louis Armstrong in Southern Victory
Satchmo took advantage of Radical Liberal Huey Long's governorship of Louisiana to protect himself from the overt and violent racism of the Freedom Party. Following Long's assassination in 1937, Satchmo and his band the Rhythm Aces (in which he sang and played the trumpet) began touring the entire Confederate States. Their music was fast-paced and lively, and was wildly popular among both black and white audiences. Scipio saw Satchmo perform in the Terry of Augusta, Georgia.
During the Second Great War, Satchmo's band was booked to entertain the Confederate army. During Operation Blackbeard, Satchmo awed a military audience in Ohio that included Tom Colleton. After the show, he and his band hijacked an army command car and defected to the United States.
Satchmo was warmly received in Philadelphia by Congresswoman Flora Blackford and was well-treated. With Blackford's patronage, Satchmo toured the US, spreading news of the Population Reduction to Americans--as well as introducing them to his music. Nevertheless, he felt himself very much of an exile in an alien land, with only a small number of Blacks living in the US and most of its citizens having little interest in his kind of music - though US radio networks duly broadcast his performances, mainly as part of the wartime propaganda.
- Musical References in Turtledove's Work, for additional minor references.
- The Victorious Opposition, pgs. 259-261, hc.