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, where 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 where the trumpet played alone began to appear more frequently. In these solos, Armstrong laid down the basic vocabulary of jazz improvising, 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 Chicago, Illinois recording studio. The exact same personnel recorded a session made under the pseudonym "Lil's Hotshots" for Vocalion/Brunswick. 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 Records.
There were two different groups called "Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five", the first recording from 1925 through 1927 and the second in 1928; Armstrong was the only musician in both groups.