James Andrew Rushing (August 26, 1901 – June 8, 1972) was an American blues and jazz singer, and pianist from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, best known as the featured vocalist of Count Basie's Orchestra from 1935 to 1948.
Rushing was known as "Mr. Five by Five" and was the subject of an eponymous 1942 popular song that was a hit for Harry James and others; the lyrics describe Rushing's rotund build: "he's five feet tall and he's five feet wide". He joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1927 and then joined Bennie Moten's band in 1929. He stayed with the successor Count Basie band when Moten died in 1935.
Rushing said that his first time singing in front of an audience was in 1924. He was playing piano at a club when the featured singer, Carlyn Williams, invited him to do a vocal. "I got out there and broke it up. I was a singer from then on," he said.
Rushing was a powerful singer who had a range from baritone to tenor. He has sometimes been classified as a blues shouter. He could project his voice so that it soared over the horn and reed sections in a big-band setting. Basie claimed that Rushing "never had an equal" as a blues vocalist, though Rushing "really thought of himself as a ballad singer." George Frazier, the author of Harvard Blues, called Rushing's distinctive voice "a magnificent gargle". Dave Brubeck defined Rushing's status among blues singers as "the daddy of them all." Late in his life Rushing said of his singing style, "I don't know what kind of blues singer you'd call me. I just sing 'em." Among his best-known recordings are "Going to Chicago", with Basie, and "Harvard Blues", with a famous saxophone solo by Don Byas.
Birth and Death Data: Born August 26th, 1901 (Oklahoma City), Died June 8th, 1972 (New York City)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1930 - 1939
Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, lyricist, songwriter
Notes: Listed on some disc labels as James Rushing.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 34 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BRC-53012||10-in.||4/15/1931||Ya got love||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62909||10-in.||10/27/1930||Won't you be my baby?||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist, vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62912||10-in.||10/28/1930||That too, do||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62921||10-in.||10/29/1930||Liza Lee||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62922||10-in.||10/30/1930||Get goin' (Get ready to love)||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62924||10-in.||10/30/1930||When I'm alone||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist, lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-62926||10-in.||10/30/1930||As long as I love you||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62927||10-in.||10/31/1930||Somebody stole my gal||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-62928||10-in.||10/31/1930||Now that I need you||Count Basie ; Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BRC-68900||10-in.||4/15/1931||I wanna be around my baby all the time||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BS-74850||10-in.||12/13/1932||New Orleans||Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BS-03872||10-in.||12/30/1936||He ain't got rhythm||Benny Goodman Orchestra ; Jimmy Rushing||Jazz/dance band||vocalist|
|Victor||BS-031876||10-in.||2/1/1939||Sent for you yesterday and here you come today||Benny Goodman Orchestra ; Johnny Mercer||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Brunswick||KC612||10-in.||11/10/1929||Blue Devil blues||Original Blue Devils ; Walter Page||Jazz/dance band, with vocal||songwriter|
|Decca||61543||10-in.||1/21/1937||Pennies from heaven||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62078||10-in.||3/26/1937||Exactly like you||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62079||10-in.||3/26/1937||Boo-Hoo||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62080||10-in.||3/26/1937||The glory of love||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62081||10-in.||3/26/1937||Boogie woogie (I may be wrong)||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62333||10-in.||7/7/1937||Listen my children (and you shall hear)||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62511||10-in.||8/9/1937||Good morning blues||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62682||10-in.||10/13/1937||I keep remembering||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||62684||10-in.||10/13/1937||Don't you miss your baby?||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||63122||10-in.||1/3/1938||Georgianna||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||63123||10-in.||1/3/1938||Blues in the dark||Count Basie Orchestra||vocalist|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Rushing, Jimmy," accessed March 1, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103465.
Rushing, Jimmy. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103465.
"Rushing, Jimmy." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 1 March 2021.
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