Lillian Armstrong, a recent addition to my music library, was married to one of history’s most prominent Jazz musicians – Louis Armstrong. However, this miss had a fire and talent all her own.
Lil was a frequent bandleader, a pianist who recorded with Columbia Records, and she was even a proficient talior/seamstress. Mostly she worked solo as a singer and pianist. One of her first inspirations as a musician was watching Jelly Roll Morton play the piano. Not a bad role model choice – IMO.
“Behind every great man, is an even greater woman,”
The saying remains true here. Early on in their friendship, she helped him get a divorce from his first wife back in New Orleans. Lillian has been credited with persuading Louis to leave King Oliver’s band and pursue a solo career. She even helped him develop a fashion sense by introducing him to Chicago’s city styling. Every step of the way she helped and supported him in his career. Lillian even put together a band with Louis featured as the lead trumpet. Talk about a great wife….
Still, this lady was a phenominal musician! Which is why she deserves today’s recognition of Jazz Musician of the Day!