Our Favorite Louis Armstrong Quotes

Our Favorite Louis Armstrong Quotes: Timeless Wisdom from a Musical Genius

Louis Armstrong, aka Satchmo, wasn’t just a virtuoso musician who transformed jazz – he was a larger-than-life personality whose words were as memorable as his melodies.

His quotes, spoken with that signature rasp, reflect his unwavering passion for his art form, the hard-fought wisdom gained through a remarkable life, and a spirit of joy that’s simply contagious.

Let’s dive into Nextbop’s favorite Louis Armstrong quotes – sure to leave you feeling inspired and a little closer to the heart of jazz.

“What we play is life.” - Louis Armstrong quote

1. “What we play is life.” – Louis Armstrong

2. “My whole life, my whole soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn…” – Louis Armstrong

3. “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” – Louis Armstrong

4. “Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine, I look right into the heart of good old New Orleans. It has given me something to live for.” – Louis Armstrong

5. “My life has always been my music, it’s always come first, but the music ain’t worth nothing if you can’t lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience, ’cause what you’re there for is to please the people.” – Louis Armstrong

6. “A lotta cats copy the Mona Lisa, but people still line up to see the original.” – Louis Armstrong

7. “Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz.” – Louis Armstrong

8. “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.” – Louis Armstrong

9. “Never play anything the same way twice.” – Louis Armstrong

10. “It’s like calling Tchaikovsky a bum because his piano concerto sounds the same way each time you hear it.” – Louis Armstrong

11. “To jazz, or not to jazz, there is no question!” – Louis Armstrong

12. “Each man has his own music bubbling up inside him.” – Louis Armstrong

13. “If you don’t understand it, don’t mess with it.” – Louis Armstrong

14. “If it hadn’t been for Jazz, there wouldn’t be no rock and roll.” – Louis Armstrong

15. “Man, all music is folk music. You ain’t never heard no horse sing a song, have you?” – Louis Armstrong

16. “Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doing to it, and all I’m saying is: see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance. Love, baby – love. That’s the secret.” – Louis Armstrong

17. “If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it.” – Louis Armstrong

18. “If ya ain’t got it in ya, ya can’t blow it out.” – Louis Armstrong

19. “Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.” – Louis Armstrong

20. “There is two kinds of music, the good, and the bad. I play the good kind.” – Louis Armstrong

21. “We all do ‘do, re, mi,’ but you have got to find the other notes yourself.” – Louis Armstrong

22. “The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago.” – Louis Armstrong

23. “Pops, my motto is ‘Eat good, stay healthy and don’t worry about being rich.’” – Louis Armstrong

About Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, affectionately known as “Satchmo” or “Pops,” was a pioneer whose impact on music is immeasurable.

Born in the vibrant birthplace of jazz, New Orleans, in 1901, Armstrong faced a difficult childhood but found solace and direction through music.

His groundbreaking trumpet playing, characterized by bold improvisations and soaring high notes, fundamentally changed the course of jazz.

That instantly recognizable, gravelly voice became synonymous with the genre itself.

As a bandleader and entertainer, Armstrong’s charisma spread the joy of jazz around the world.

His iconic songs like “What a Wonderful World,” “Hello, Dolly!,” and “La Vie en Rose” have become timeless classics, ensuring his legacy as one of the most beloved and influential musicians of all time.

Sebastien Helary

Written by Sebastien Helary

Sebastien Helary is the founder and principal writer for Nextbop.com, a premier destination for contemporary jazz enthusiasts. His insightful contributions have also graced the pages of Time Out Montreal and Cult Montreal. Outside the realm of music and food journalism, Sebastien’s personal musings and artistry are showcased at Helaryous.com.

Follow him on Instagram or LinkedIn!

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