Home > Music That I've Encountered > Louis Jordan Jazz Man, R&B Pioneer and Godfather of Rock

Louis Jordan Jazz Man, R&B Pioneer and Godfather of Rock

Louis Jordan was one of the unsung giants of modern rock as well as roll and rhythm blues. He was an inspiration to artists like Chuck Berry, Ike Turner and James Brown. Born on July 8 1908 in Brinkley Arkansas which is 60 miles was of Memphis. His father was a music teacher and by seven Louis was playing the clarinet.
At age fifteen he made his professional debut and played in a variety of bands for the next dozen years. Among them were Fat Chappelle’s Rabbit Foot Minstrels, Charlie Gaines Orch., and the Jimmie Willams Band.In1929 he made his first recording session playing on Dog Bottom and Jungle Mama for the Brunswick stidios. In 1936 he joined drummer Chick Webb’s orchestra which also featured vocalist Ella Fitzgerald.

In 1938 he left the Webb band to strike out on his own wanting to move away from pure jazz to become more of an entertainer. Whatever the reasons for the decision it proved to be a very profitable move. He formed a smaller combo and began to paly a shuffle boogie beat. And in short time Louis became one of the most popular entertainers of the 1940’s. He had a string of million selling hits like “Caldonia” and “Cho Choo Chaboogie“.


A new generation of performers followed in his footsteps and ushered in the rock and r&b explosion of the 1950’s. Louis expanded his band and continued to perform and record but a younger generation had arrived and his moment had passed. He also continued to appear on the silver screen a carrer where he starred or was featured in nine movies and seventeen Soundies. Which was a 1940’s version of the movie video. 

 On our MindsiMedia station on YouTube we have posted these vintage clips of Louis Jordan. We also have an extensive play list of early blues and r&b.  


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