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Louis Jordan

Louis Thomas Jordan (July 8, 1908 – February 4, 1975) was an American musician, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", his highest profile came towards the end of the swing era.

Jordan was a talented singer with great comedic flair, and he fronted his own band for more than twenty years. He duetted with some of the biggest solo singing stars of his time, including Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Jordan was also an actor and a film personality—he appeared in dozens of "soundies" (promotional film clips), made numerous cameos in mainstream features and short films, and starred in two musical feature films made especially for him. He was an instrumentalist who played all forms of the saxophone but specialized in the alto. He also played the piano and clarinet. A productive songwriter, he wrote or co-wrote many songs that were influential classics of 20th-century popular music.

Jordan began his career in big-band swing jazz in the 1930s, but he became known as one of the leading practitioners, innovators and popularizers of jump blues, a swinging, up-tempo, dance-oriented hybrid of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie. Typically performed by smaller bands consisting of five or six players, jump music featured shouted, highly syncopated vocals and earthy, comedic lyrics on contemporary urban themes. It strongly emphasized the rhythm section of piano, bass and drums; after the mid-1940s, this mix was often augmented by electric guitar. Jordan's band also pioneered the use of the electronic organ.

With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock-and-roll genres with a series of highly influential 78-rpm discs released by Decca Records. These recordings presaged many of the styles of black popular music of the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and exerted a strong influence on many leading performers in these genres. Many of his records were produced by Milt Gabler, who went on to refine and develop the qualities of Jordan's recordings in his later production work with Bill Haley, including "Rock Around the Clock".

Jordan ranks fifth in the list of the most successful African-American recording artists according to Joel Whitburn's analysis of Billboard magazine's R&B chart. Though comprehensive sales figures are not available, he had at least four million-selling hits during his career. Jordan regularly topped the R&B "race" charts and was one of the first black recording artists to achieve significant crossover in popularity with the mainstream (predominantly white) American audience, having simultaneous Top Ten hits on the pop charts on several occasions.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 8, 1908 (Arkansas), Died February 4, 1975 (Los Angeles)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1936 - 1960

Roles Represented in DAHR: alto saxophone, vocalist, leader, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, songwriter, composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 226-250 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 85663 1/4/1954 Perdido (Instrumental) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 88507 8/15/1955 I want you to be my baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five leader  
Decca 93783 10-in. 11/15/1941 How 'bout that? Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93784 10-in. 11/15/1941 Teacher (How I love my teacher) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93785 10-in. 11/15/1941 Mama Mama blues (Rusty dusty blues) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93786 10-in. 11/15/1941 Knock me a kiss Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93821 10-in. 11/22/1941 The green grass grows all around Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93822 10-in. 11/22/1941 Mister Lovingood Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93823 10-in. 11/22/1941 Small townboy Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 93824 10-in. 11/22/1941 I'm gonna move to the outskirts of town Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 108558 1/12/1960 Saturday night fish fry Louis Jordan instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 120079 8/9/1949 Saturday night fish fry Louis Jordan vocalist  
Decca 120080 6/26/1950 Blue light boogie Louis Jordan vocalist  
Decca L 3204 10-in. 10/4/1943 Ration blues Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca L 3205 10-in. 10/4/1943 Is you is or is you ain't my baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca L 3206 10-in. 10/4/1943 Deacon Jones Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca L 3207 10-in. 10/4/1943 The things I want I can't get at home Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca L 3477 10-in. 7/26/1944 (Yip yip de hootie) My baby said yes Bing Crosby ; Louis Jordan instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca L 3478 10-in. 7/26/1944 (Yip yip de hootie) My baby said yes-2 Bing Crosby instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca L 3479 10-in. 7/26/1944 Your socks don't match Bing Crosby ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca L 4341 1/11/1947 Open the door Richard Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca L 4342 1/11/1947 Friendship Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca L 4351 1/23/1947 Open the door Richard Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca L 4572 11/24/1947 Have you got the gumption Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca L 4573 11/24/1947 We can't agree Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
(Results 226-250 of 274 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jordan, Louis," accessed January 30, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210.

Jordan, Louis. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210.

"Jordan, Louis." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 30 January 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210

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