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Fellow musicians called him “stachelmouth” because of his huge, wide grin. Later, it was shortened to “Sachmo”. The nickname belonged to Louis Armstrong, possibly the greatest jazz musician of all time, but certainly the most influential of them all. Perhaps if he hadn’t fired that borrowed pistol into the air to celebrate New Year's 1913, Armstrong might have never been a professional musician at all. The frightened 12-year-old boy was arrested by a very annoyed police officer and sent to the New Orleans Colored Waifs' Home for Boys to ponder his infamy. Fortunately for Louis, and the musical world as well, he fell under the influence of Peter Davis, the home’s musical instructor. Davis recognized the talent in the young black boy. He taught him singing, percussion and, finally, the trumpet. Fortune turned her back on him at first. Louis Daniel Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in the Storyville District of New Orleans. It was a rough and tumble neighborhood, populated by street toughs and so crowded that one could barely find standing room. His father was a laborer who abandoned the family soon after Louis’ birth. His mother was a part-time prostitute.
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