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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 176-200 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 80299 12/21/1950 Tear drops from my eyes Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 80300 12/21/1950 If you've got some place to go Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, baritone saxophone, leader  
Decca 80633 3/1/1951 Weak minded blues Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 80634 3/1/1951 Is my Pop in there? Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 80635 3/1/1951 I can't give you anything but love, baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 81121 6/5/1951 If you so smart, how come you ain't rich ? Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 81122 6/5/1951 Trust in me Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 81123 6/5/1951 Louisville Lodge meeting Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 81124 6/5/1951 How blue can you get ? Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 81125 6/5/1951 Happy birthday boogie Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 81148 6/13/1951 May every day be Christmas Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81149 6/13/1951 Please don't leave me Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca 81150 6/13/1951 Bone dry Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81151 6/13/1951 I love that kinda carryin' on Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81152 6/13/1951 Three handed woman Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81153 6/13/1951 Fat Sam from Birmingham Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81321 7/30/1951 Cock-a-doodle doo Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81322 7/30/1951 Garmoochie Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81323 7/30/1951 There must be a way Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81908 11/28/1951 Come and get it Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca 81909 11/28/1951 Stop makin' music Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca 81910 11/28/1951 Slow down Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca 81911 11/28/1951 Work baby work Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca 81912 11/28/1951 Never trust a woman-1 Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 81913 11/28/1951 All of me Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
(Results 176-200 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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