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Louis Jordan

Louis Thomas Jordan (July 8, 1908 – February 4, 1975) was an American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "the King of the Jukebox", he earned his highest profile towards the end of the swing era. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an "early influence" in 1987.

Specializing in the alto sax, Jordan played all forms of the saxophone, as well as piano and clarinet. He also was a talented singer with great comedic flair, and 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 14 three-minute Soundies filmed for "movie jukeboxes" of the 1940s. He also worked as a specialty act in the Hollywood theatrical features Follow the Boys and Swing Parade of 1946. His very successful musical short Caldonia (1945) prompted three more feature films, all starring Jordan and his band: Beware; Reet, Petite and Gone; and Look Out Sister.

Jordan began his career in big-band swing jazz in the 1930s, but he became known as an innovative popularizer 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, and was the most popular rhythm and blues artist with his "jump blues" recordings of the pre-rock n' roll era. 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, achieving the Number 1 slot eighteen times, with 113 weeks in that spot over the years. He was also one of the first black recording artists to achieve significant crossover in popularity with the predominantly white mainstream 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 126-150 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 73305 1/23/1946 Choo choo ch' boogie Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73306 1/23/1946 Ain't that just like a woman Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73307 1/23/1946 That chick's too young to fry Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73642 6/26/1946 No sale Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73643 6/26/1946 If it's love you want baby, that's me Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73644 6/26/1946 Ain't nobody here but us chickens Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73645 6/26/1946 Let the good times roll Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73716 10/10/1946 All for the love of Lil Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73717 10/10/1946 Texas and Pacific Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73718 10/10/1946 Jack you're dead Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73719 10/10/1946 Reet petite and gone Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73720 10/10/1946 Sure had a wonderful time Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73721 10/10/1946 I know what you're puttin' down Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73882 4/23/1947 Boogie woogie blue plate Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73883 4/23/1947 Barnyard boogie Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73884 4/23/1947 Every man to his own profession Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73885 4/23/1947 Early in the mornin' Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73886 4/23/1947 Run Joe Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73936 6/4/1947 Look out! Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 73937 6/4/1947 Beans and cornbread Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 74833 4/12/1949 Push-ka-pee she pie (The saga of saga boy)-1 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74834 4/12/1949 Cole slaw Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74835 4/12/1949 Beans and corn bread Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74836 4/13/1949 Onions (Instrumental) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74837 4/13/1949 Baby's gonna go, bye bye Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
(Results 126-150 of 274 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jordan, Louis," accessed June 13, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210.

Jordan, Louis. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210.

"Jordan, Louis." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 13 June 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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