Louis Jordan: Choo Choo Ch'Boogie

A late-1930s jazz veteran, Louis Jordan scored a string of #1 hits from the early '40s through 1950 that broadened the crossover appeal of "race music" by merging swing and boogie woogie into jump blues. The locomotive shuffle of "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" typifies his populist formula. Humorous jive lyrics defuse what might otherwise be construed as lowlife ethnic stereotyping. Shuffle beat and simple riffing keep the music unchallenging—the opposite of bebop, a contemporaneous development that alienated dancers. Jordan acted the genial naïf, but his consistent success amidst America's wartime and postwar ferment betrayed uncommonly savvy showmanship.

November 18, 2007 · 0 comments


Nellie Lutcher: He's a Real Gone Guy

Nellie Lutcher defies pigeonholing. Her brother Joe Lutcher was a jump blues artist, but Nellie's musical skills weren't minimalist enough to suit that genre. Nor did she affect the hoity-toity refinement of Hazel Scott. One of 15 siblings from Lake Charles, LA, Nellie was down-home as a simmering pot of jambalaya, and just as spicy. Her zest is contagious, as on this track during a unison scat-vocal/piano chorus; that her vocal range doesn't extend to the keyboard's upper reaches only makes her game attempts to get there more delightful. "Gone," in 1940s jive talk, meant superlative. Nellie Lutcher was a real gone gal.

November 05, 2007 · 0 comments


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