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 201-225 of 274 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 81914 11/28/1951 There goes my heart Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone  
Decca 81915 11/28/1951 Lay something on the bar (Besides your elbows)-1 Louis Jordan Orchestra instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist  
Decca 82793 4/30/1952 Gimme gimme blues Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82794 4/30/1952 Junco partner Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82795 4/30/1952 Time marches on Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82796 4/30/1952 Azure-Te Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82797 4/30/1952 Oil well Texas Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82798 4/30/1952 There's nothing else that I can do Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82834 5/8/1952 Jordan for president Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 82835 5/8/1952 The soon-a baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 83681 12/3/1952 There's nothing else that I can do Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 83682 12/3/1952 The soon-a baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 83683 12/3/1952 You didn't want me baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 83684 12/3/1952 A man's best friend is a bed Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 84627 5/28/1953 Hog wash (Hot wash) Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 84628 5/28/1953 House party Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 84629 5/28/1953 Everything that's made of wood Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 84630 5/28/1953 I want you to be my baby Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 84631 5/28/1953 You know it too Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 85657 1/4/1954 Locked-up Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 85658 1/4/1954 I gotta move Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 85659 1/4/1954 Nobody knows you when you're down and out Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 85660 1/4/1954 If it's true Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 85661 1/4/1954 Wake up, Jacob Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
Decca 85662 1/4/1954 Lollypop Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five instrumentalist, alto saxophone, vocalist, leader  
(Results 201-225 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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