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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 101-125 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 71129 10-in. 7/21/1942 That'll just 'bout knock me out Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71130 10-in. 7/21/1942 Dirty snake Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71131 10-in. 7/21/1942 Somebody done changed the lock on my door Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71132 10-in. 7/21/1942 Five guys named Moe Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71133 10-in. 7/21/1942 It's a low-down dirty shame Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71134 10-in. 7/21/1942 De laff's on you Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 71818 3/1/1944 How high am I? Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 71820 3/1/1944 The truth of the matter Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 71821 3/1/1944 Hey! Now let's jive Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 71871 10-in. 3/15/1944 Mop mop Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 71873 10-in. 3/15/1944 You can't get that no more Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72709 10-in. 1/19/1945 Buzz me Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72710 1/19/1945 They raided the house Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72711 10-in. 1/19/1945 Caldonia Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72978 7/16/1945 Don't worry 'bout that mule Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72979 10-in. 7/16/1945 Salt Pork, West Virginia Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72980 10-in. 7/18/1945 No baby, nobody but you Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 72982 10-in. 7/18/1945 Don't worry 'bout that mule Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73073 10-in. 10/8/1945 Stone cold dead in de market Ella Fitzgerald ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73074 10-in. 10/8/1945 Petootie pie-1 Ella Fitzgerald ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73081 10/15/1945 Petootie pie Ella Fitzgerald ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, leader  
Decca 73082 10-in. 10/15/1945 Reconversion blues Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, leader  
Decca 73302 1/23/1946 It's so easy Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73303 1/23/1946 Beware! Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73304 1/23/1946 Don't let the sun catch you cryin' Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
(Results 101-125 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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