All-Star Parade Of Bands – Louis Jordan and His Tympany 5 – Live at Sardis – July 9, 1956 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
From one of the pioneers of Jump-Blues and small-combo Jazz, bubbling under the radar in the 1930s and coming to the forefront after World War 2, Louis Jordan was one of its most visible and innovative. Along with Lucky Millinder and (post-War), Roy Milton, Joe Liggins and the onslaught of new bands that cropped up shortly after, Jordan did a lot to break down the color barrier which existed in mainstream Music at the time – his long-standing relationship with Decca Records, responsible for so many of his early hits, went from putting him on their Sepia imprint, to their regular releases.
This broadcast, from the later period of Jordan’s career, still finds him a vital ingredient in what was the rapidly evolving status of Rock n’ Roll, one which directly traced its roots to the Jump-Blues movement.
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”.
He’s performing at the Hollywood hotspot Sardi’s (“on the corner of Hollywood and Vine”) – and broadcast on July 9, 1956 as part of the All-Star Parade Of Bands series on NBC Radio.
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