32¢ Louis Armstrong
Issue Date: September 1, 1995
City: New Orleans, LA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11.1 x 11
At the time of this stamp's release in September 1995, the USPS stated that Armstrong was the most requested male stamp subject. In the seven years prior to this issue, more than 38,765 signatures representing 62 countries had been collected by the New Orleans Jazz Club Collection of the Louisiana State Museum in support of an Armstrong stamp.
When asked to define jazz, Louis Armstrong replied, “Baby, if you got to ask the question, you’re never going to know the answer.” And just as Armstrong, or “Satchmo,” as he is affectionately referred to, implied that it was impossible to define jazz, the same can be said about Armstrong’s inimitable talent. Many historians credit Armstrong for singlehandedly popularizing jazz throughout the world.
The trumpet was Armstrong’s instrument, and he is still regarded as one of the most brilliant soloists in jazz. But Armstrong also used his gruff, throaty voice, charm, and humor to thrill audiences. He popularized scat, a singing style that utilizes common sounds, but not words, in rhythmic patterns.
Prior to Armstrong, jazz music had been based on three instruments leading the band together. Usually these were the trumpet, clarinet, and trombone. But Armstrong’s talent could not be contained – and thus the era of the virtuoso jazz soloist was born.
Armstrong worked with the biggest names in music and Hollywood during his career. Among his many successes were the hit records “Hello, Dolly!” and “Mack the Knife,” and the motion pictures “New Orleans,” “High Society,” and “Hello, Dolly!”