Armstrong was born and raised in New Orleans. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. Around 1922, he followed his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, to Chicago to play in the Creole Jazz Band. In the Windy City, he networked with other popular jazz musicians, reconnecting with his friend, Bix Beiderbecke, and made new contacts, which included Hoagy Carmichael and Lil Hardin. He earned a reputation at "cutting contests", and relocated to New York in order to join Fletcher Henderson's band.