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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 76-100 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 67310 10-in. 3/13/1940 Somebody done hoodooed the hoodoo man Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67311 10-in. 3/13/1940 Bounce the ball (Do da dittle um day) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67318 10-in. 3/13/1940 Penthouse in the basement Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67319 10-in. 3/13/1940 After school swing session (Instrumental) (Swinging with Symphony Sid) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, clarinet, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67634 10-in. 4/29/1940 Oh boy I'm in the groove Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67635 10-in. 4/29/1940 Never let your left hand know what your right hand's doin' Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67636 10-in. 4/29/1940 Don't come cryin' on my shoulder Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 67637 10-in. 4/29/1940 Waitin' for the Robert E. Lee Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 68169 10-in. 9/30/1940 A chicken ain't nothin' but a bird-1 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68170 10-in. 9/30/1940 Pompton turnpike Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68171 10-in. 9/30/1940 Do you call that a buddy?-1 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68172 10-in. 9/30/1940 I know you (I know what you wanna do) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68621 10-in. 1/24/1941 Pinetop's boogie woogie (Instrumental) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 68622 10-in. 1/24/1941 The two little squirrels (Nuts to you) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 68623 10-in. 1/24/1941 T-Bone blues Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 68624 10-in. 1/24/1941 Pan-Pan Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, clarinet, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 68905 10-in. 4/2/1941 St. Vitus dance Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68906 10-in. 4/2/1941 Saxa-woogie-1 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68907 10-in. 4/2/1941 Brotherly love Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68908 10-in. 4/2/1941 De laff's on you Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68909 10-in. 4/2/1941 Boogie woogie came to town Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 68910 10-in. 4/2/1941 John, stop teasing me Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71126 10-in. 7/21/1942 What's the use of gettin' sober Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71127 10-in. 7/21/1942 The chicks I pick are slender tender and tall Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71128 10-in. 7/21/1942 I'm gonna leave you on the outskirts of town Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
(Results 76-100 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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