The Hot Five was Louis Armstrong's first jazz recording band led under his own name.
It was a typical New Orleans jazz band in instrumentation, consisting of trumpet, clarinet, and trombone backed by a rhythm section. The original New Orleans jazz style leaned heavily on collective improvisation, in which the three horns together played the lead: the trumpet played the main melody, and the clarinet and trombone played improvised accompaniments to the melody. This tradition was continued in the Hot Five, but because of Armstrong's creative gifts as a trumpet player, solo passages by the trumpet alone began to appear more frequently. In these solos, Armstrong laid down the basic vocabulary of jazz improvisation and became its founding and most influential exponent.
The Hot Five was organized at the suggestion of Richard M. Jones for Okeh Records. All their records were made in Okeh's recording studio in Chicago, Illinois. The same personnel recorded a session made under the pseudonym "Lil's Hot Shots" for Vocalion/Brunswick (their first electrically recorded session). While the musicians in the Hot Five played together in other contexts, as the Hot Five they were a recording studio band that performed live only for two parties organized by Okeh.