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 151-175 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 74838 4/13/1949 Heed my warning Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74839 4/13/1949 Psycho-loco (Instrumental) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74866 4/28/1949 Baby, it's cold outside Ella Fitzgerald ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74867 4/28/1949 Don't cry, cry baby Ella Fitzgerald ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 74876 4/28/1949 School days Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, leader  
Decca 75121 8/9/1949 Hungry man Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 75122 8/9/1949 Love you 'til your money's gone blues Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 75123 8/9/1949 Saturday night fish fry, part 1 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 75124 8/9/1949 Saturday night fish fry, part 2 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76540 6/26/1950 I want a roof over my head Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76541 6/26/1950 Show me how Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76542 6/26/1950 Blue light boogie, part 1 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76543 6/26/1950 Blue light boogie, part 2 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76731 8/15/1950 Ain't nobody's business but my own Ella Fitzgerald ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76732 8/15/1950 I'll never be free Ella Fitzgerald vocalist  
Decca 76736 8/18/1950 Tambouritza boogie Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76737 8/18/1950 Chartreuse Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76738 8/18/1950 Lemonade Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76739 8/18/1950 It's a great, great pleasure Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76740 8/18/1950 You will always have a friend-2 Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76741 8/21/1950 Louisville Lodge meeting Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76742 8/21/1950 Trouble then satisfaction Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76743 8/21/1950 Crazy baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76744 8/23/1950 Life is so peculiar Louis Armstrong ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 76745 8/23/1950 (I'll be glad when you're dead) You rascal you Louis Armstrong ; Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
(Results 151-175 of 274 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Jordan, Louis," accessed January 27, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210.

Jordan, Louis. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109210.

"Jordan, Louis." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 27 January 2023.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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