Louis Jordan (American jazz, blues and rhythm & blues musician and songwriter)

~ Person


Louis Thomas Jordan (July 8, 1908 – February 4, 1975) was a pioneering American musician, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", he was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the later years of the swing era.

Jordan was one of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, ranking fifth in the list of the all-time most successful black recording artists according to Billboard magazine's chart methodology. 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 white pop charts on several occasions. After Duke Ellington and Count Basie, Jordan was probably the most popular and successful African-American bandleader of his time.

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 major black 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 famous 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 electric organ.

With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock'n'roll genres with a series of hugely influential 78 rpm discs for the Decca label. 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".

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1962 Somebody Up There Digs Me Louis Jordan 1
1962 Somebody Up There Digs Me Louis Jordan 1
1964 Hallelujah... Louis Jordan Is Back! Louis Jordan 1
1977 Louis Jordan & Chris Barber Louis Jordan & Chris Barber 1
1985 Rock 'n Roll Call Louis Jordan 2
1998 How 'Bout That Louis Jordan 1
2000 The 'V' Discs & More Louis Jordan 1
Five Guys Named Moe (The V Discs) Louis Jordan 1
Good Times Louis Jordan 1
I Believe in Music: The Blues Singer & Players Collection, Volume 20 Louis Jordan 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1986 Rockin' & Jivin' 1956/57, Volume 1 Louis Jordan 1
1986 Rockin' & Jivin' 1956/57, Volume 2 Louis Jordan 1
1986 V-Disc Recordings Louis Jordan 1
1989 Rock 'n' Roll Louis Jordan 1
1989 World Transcriptions Louis Jordan 1
1991 Five Guys Named Moe - Louis Jordan's Golden Greats Louis Jordan 2
1992 Five Guys Named Moe: Original Decca Recordings, Volume 2 Louis Jordan 1
1992 I Believe in Music Louis Jordan 2
1992 Jump Jive!: The Very Best of Louis Jordan 1
1992 Just Say Moe!: Mo' of the Best of Louis Jordan Louis Jordan 1
1992 Let the Good Times Roll (1938-1954) Louis Jordan 1
1992 No Moe! Louis Jordan: The Greatest Hits Louis Jordan 1
1992 One Guy Named Louis - Complete Aladdin Sessions Louis Jordan 1
1993 Five Guys Named Moe Louis Jordan 1
1993 The Blues Collection: Louis Jordan, Caldonia Louis Jordan 1
1996 Jazz Greats, Volume 9: Louis Jordan: Saxa-Woogie Louis Jordan 1
1996 Louis Jordan on Film 1942-1948 Louis Jordan 1
1999 Let The Good Times Roll: The Anthology (1938-1953) Louis Jordan 1
2001 The Essential Collection Louis Jordan 1
2002 Jivin' With Jordan Louis Jordan 1
2003 Jumpin' And Jivin' At Jubilee Louis Jordan 1
2004 Les Triomphes du rhythm'n'blues, Volume 1: Let the Good Times Roll Louis Jordan 1
2005 Number Ones Louis Jordan 1
2006 "Rocks", Keep A Knockin' Louis Jordan 1
2011 The Anthology Louis Jordan 1
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Louis Jordan Louis Jordan 1
Choo-Choo Ch'Boogie Louis Jordan 1
Golden Greats Louis Jordan 1
Jazz & Blues Collection 18: Louis Jordan Louis Jordan 1
Somebody Done Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man Louis Jordan 1
Swingsation Louis Jordan 1
The Very Best of Louis Jordan Louis Jordan 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 Live Jive Louis Jordan 1

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1991 Five Guys Named Moe (1990 original London cast) Louis Jordan 1
Five Guys Named Moe (1992 original Broadway cast) Louis Jordan 4 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1975 The Best of Louis Jordan Louis Jordan 3 2

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