Hardin-Armstrong was the most prominent woman in early jazz. She played
piano, composed, and arranged for
of the important Hot
Bands from New Orleans. While working at a music store in Chicago,
she was invited to play with Sugar Johnny's Creole Orchestra, from there
she went to Freddie Keppard's Original Creole Orchestra, and then led her
own band at the Dreamland Cafe at 3520 South State Street in Chicago.
In 1921 she joined King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band where she met Louis Armstrong.
They were married in 1924.
Lil was Louis Armstrong's second wife and she is generally credited with
persuading Louis to be more ambitious, and leave King Oliver's Creole Jazz
Lil was a major contributor to Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven
She played piano and sang occasionally,
and composed several of the groups major songs, including "Struttin'
with Some Barbeque". Lil
was the leader of several other recording groups, including Lil's Hot Shots
and the New Orleans Wanderers.