|Birth name||James Melvin Lunceford|
|Born||June 6, 1902|
Fulton, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||July 12, 1947 45) (aged|
|Genres||Jazz, swing, traditional pop|
James Melvin Lunceford (June 6, 1902 – July 12, 1947) was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
The swing era was the period of time (1933–1947) when big band swing music was the most popular music in the United States. Though this was its most popular period, the music had actually been around since the late 1920s and early 1930s, being played by black bands led by such artists as Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Bennie Moten, Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, and Fletcher Henderson, and white bands from the 1920s led by the likes of Jean Goldkette, Russ Morgan and Isham Jones. An early milestone in the era was from “the King of Swing” Benny Goodman's performance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles on August 21, 1935, bringing the music to the rest of the country. The 1930s also became the era of other great soloists: the tenor saxists Coleman Hawkins, Chu Berry and Lester Young; the alto saxists Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges; the drummers Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Cozy Cole and Sid Catlett; the pianists Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson; the trumpeters Roy Eldridge, Bunny Berigan, and Rex Stewart.
Lunceford was born on a farm in the Evergreen community, west of the Tombigbee River, near Fulton, Mississippi. The 53 acre farm was owned by his father, James. His mother was Idella ("Ida") Shumpert of Oklahoma City, an organist of "more than average ability." Seven months after James Melvin was born, the family moved to Oklahoma City.The family next moved to Denver where Lunceford went to high school and studied music under Wilberforce J. Whiteman, father of Paul Whiteman, whose band was soon to acquire a national reputation. As a child in Denver, he learned several instruments. After high school, Lunceford continued his studies at Fisk University. In 1922, he played alto saxophone in a local band led by the violinist George Morrison which included Andy Kirk, another musician destined for fame as a bandleader.
Fulton is a city in and the county seat of Itawamba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 3,961 at the 2010 census.
Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 167,000 people, is both the state's capital and largest city.
Denver, officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is named after James W. Denver, a governor of the Kansas Territory, and it is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station.
In 1927, while an athletic instructor at Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee, he organized a student band, the Chickasaw Syncopators, whose name was changed to the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Under the new name, the band started its professional career in 1929, and made its first recordings in 1930.Lunceford was the first public high school band director in Memphis. After a period of touring, in 1934 the band accepted a booking at the Harlem nightclub The Cotton Club for their revue 'Cotton Club Parade' starring Adelaide Hall. The Cotton Club had already featured Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, who won their first widespread fame from their inventive shows for the Cotton Club's all-white patrons. With their tight musicianship and the often outrageous humor in their music and lyrics, Lunceford's orchestra made an ideal band for the club, and Lunceford's reputation began to steadily grow. Jimmie Lunceford's band differed from other great bands of the time because it was better known for its ensemble than for its solo work. Additionally, he was known for using a two-beat rhythm, called the Lunceford two-beat, as opposed to the standard four-beat rhythm. This distinctive "Lunceford style" was largely the result of the imaginative arrangements by trumpeter Sy Oliver, which set high standards for dance-band arrangers of the time.
Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. The 2017 city population was 652,236, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, second-largest city in Tennessee, as well as the 25th largest city in the United States. Greater Memphis is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 1,348,260 in 2017. The city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. Memphis is the seat of Shelby County, the most populous county in Tennessee. As one of the most historic and cultural cities of the southern United States, the city features a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods.
Harlem is a neighborhood in the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is bounded roughly by Frederick Douglass Boulevard, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Morningside Park on the west; the Harlem River and 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east; and Central Park North on the south. It is part of greater Harlem, an area that encompasses several other neighborhoods and extends west to the Hudson River, north to 155th Street, east to the East River, and south to 96th Street.
Adelaide Louise Hall was an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Hall's long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world's most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades. She performed with major artists such as Art Tatum Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande Rudy Vallee and Jools Holland, and recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington and with Fats Waller.
Though not well known as a musician, Jimmie Lunceford was trained on several instruments and was even featured on flute in "Liza".
Comedy and vaudeville played a distinct part in Lunceford's presentation. Songs such as "Rhythm Is Our Business" (featured in a 1937 musical short with Myra Johnson (Taylor) on vocals), "I'm Nuts about Screwy Music", "I Want the Waiter (With the Water)", and "Four or Five Times" displayed a playful sense of swing, often through clever arrangements by trumpeter Sy Oliver and bizarre lyrics. Lunceford's stage shows often included costumes, skits, and obvious jabs at mainstream white bands, such as Paul Whiteman's and Guy Lombardo's.
Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.
The musical short can be traced back to the earliest days of sound films.
Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo was a Canadian-American bandleader and violinist.
Despite the band's comic veneer, Lunceford always maintained professionalism in the music befitting a former teacher; this professionalism paid off and during the apex of swing in the 1930s, the Orchestra was considered the equal of Duke Ellington's, Earl Hines' or Count Basie's. This precision can be heard in such pieces as "Wham (Re-Bop-Boom-Bam)", "Lunceford Special", "For Dancers Only", "Uptown Blues", and "Stratosphere". The band's noted saxophone section was led by alto sax player Willie Smith. Lunceford often used a conducting baton to lead his band.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".
William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer.
The orchestra began recording for the Decca label and later signed with the Columbia subsidiary Vocalion in 1938. They toured Europe extensively in 1937, but had to cancel a second tour in 1939 because of the outbreak of World War II. Columbia dropped Lunceford in 1940 because of flagging sales. (Oliver departed the group before the scheduled European tour to take a position as an arranger for Tommy Dorsey). Lunceford returned to the Decca label. The orchestra appeared in the 1941 movie Blues in the Night .
Most of Lunceford's sidemen were underpaid and left for better paying bands, leading to the band's decline.
After playing McElroy's Ballroom in Portland,Lunceford and his orchestra were in Seaside, Oregon to play at The Bungalow dance hall on July 12, 1947. Before the performance Lunceford collapsed during an autograph session at a local record store. He died while being taken by ambulance to the Seaside hospital. Lunceford was 45. Dr Alton Alderman performed an autopsy in nearby Astoria, Oregon, and concluded that Lunceford died of coronary occlusion.
Lunceford had complained about an aching leg as they arrived in Seaside, and had been suffering with high blood pressure for a while, and had recently complained about not feeling well.Allegations and rumors circulated that he had been poisoned by a restaurant owner who was unhappy at having to serve a "Negro" in his establishment. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.
Band members, notably Eddie Wilcox and Joe Thomas kept the band going for a time but finally had to break up the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra in 1949.
In 1999, band-leader Robert Veen and a team of musicians set out to acquire permission to use the original band charts and arrangements of the Jimmie Lunceford canon. 'The Jimmie Lunceford Legacy Orchestra' officially debuted in July 2005 at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands.
The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival was founded in 2007 by Ron Herd II a.k.a. R2C2H2 Tha Artivist and Artstorian, with the aim of increasing recognition of Lunceford's contribution to jazz, particularly in Memphis, Tennessee. The Jimmie Lunceford Legacy Awards was created by the Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival to honor exceptional musicians with Memphis ties as well as those who have dedicated their careers to excellence in music and music education.
His music continues to have an impact. Most recently the tune "Rhythm is Our Business" was included as track on the compilation set Memphis Jazz Box in 2004 in honor of Lunceford's close ties to Memphis.
On July 19, 2009, a brass note was dedicated to Lunceford on Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee.
Prior to Lunceford's success on Decca (beginning September 1934), he made the following recordings:
note: every recording by Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra is included in this 10 volume series from the CLASSICS reissue label...
Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996.
Lucius Venable "Lucky" Millinder was an American rhythm-and-blues and swing bandleader. Although he could not read or write music, did not play an instrument and rarely sang, his showmanship and musical taste made his bands successful. His group was said to have been the greatest big band to play rhythm and blues, and gave work to a number of musicians who later became influential at the dawn of the rock and roll era. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1986.
Andrew Dewey Kirk was a jazz saxophonist and tubist best known as a bandleader of the "Twelve Clouds of Joy", popular during the swing era.
Albert George "Al" Hibbler was an American baritone vocalist, who sang with Duke Ellington's orchestra before having several pop hits as a solo artist. Some of Hibbler's singing is classified as rhythm and blues, but he is best seen as a bridge between R&B and traditional pop music. According to one authority, "Hibbler cannot be regarded as a jazz singer but as an exceptionally good interpreter of twentieth-century popular songs who happened to work with some of the best jazz musicians of the time."
Melvin James "Sy" Oliver was an American jazz arranger, trumpeter, composer, singer and bandleader.
Wilbur Dorsey "Buck" Clayton was an American jazz trumpet player who was a leading member of Count Basie's "Old Testament" orchestra and a leader of mainstream-oriented jam session recordings in the 1950s. His principal influence was Louis Armstrong. The Penguin Guide to Jazz says that he “synthesi[zed] much of the history of jazz trumpet up to his own time, with a bright brassy tone and an apparently limitless facility for melodic improvisation”. Clayton worked closely with Li Jinhui, father of Chinese popular music in Shanghai. His contributions helped change musical history in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Milton Gabler was an American record producer, responsible for many innovations in the recording industry of the 20th century.
Oscar Frederic Moore was an American jazz guitarist who spent ten years with the Nat King Cole Trio.
Tommy Stevenson was a jazz trumpet player in the big band era. He was the first high note trumpeter to be featured on recordings.
Paul Webster was a jazz trumpet player in the big band era. He is best remembered for having been Jimmie Lunceford's high-note trumpet player. According to some sources, he was a big influence on a young Stan Kenton, who later featured high-note trumpeters in many of his bands.
William McLeish Smith was one of the major alto saxophone players of the swing era. He also played clarinet and sang.
Eddie Durham was an American musician who pioneered the use of the electric guitar in jazz. He was a guitarist, trombonist, composer, and arranger for the orchestras of Bennie Moten, Jimmie Lunceford, and Count Basie.
Merry Christmas is a compilation album by Bing Crosby that was released in 1945 on Decca Records. It has remained in print through the vinyl, CD, and downloadable file eras, currently as the disc and digital album White Christmas on MCA Records, a part of the Universal Music Group, and currently on vinyl as Merry Christmas on Geffen Records. It includes Crosby's signature song "White Christmas", the best-selling single of all time with estimated sales of over 50 million copies worldwide. The album has sold over 15 million copies and is the second best-selling Christmas album of all-time behind Elvis' Christmas Album, which has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide. The original 1945 release and subsequent re-releases and re-packages spent a total of 36 weeks at no. 1 on the Billboard pop albums chart.
This is the discography of Duke Ellington. In actuality it is a sessionography, as the majority of these recordings are listed under the year they were recorded rather than the year released. Reissues are listed for most of the recordings released before the 1950s, as the original 78s are rare. The US chart listing information should be taken as being very tentative, since sources like the Joel Whitburn "Pop Memories" book does not take the cheaper dime-store records into account. During this period, records sold by song title, not specifically by artist, although there are exceptions. Based on many years of research by scores of collectors, the general opinion is that the easier it is to find an old record at a second hand shop that sells 78's the more likely it was a good seller. Many of the below titles are fairly easy to find.
Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 is a box set ten-disc compilation of the complete known studio master recordings, plus alternate takes, of Billie Holiday during the time period indicated, released in 2001 on Columbia/Legacy, CXK 85470. Designed like an album of 78s, the medium in which these recordings initially appeared, the 10.5" × 12" box includes 230 tracks, a 116-page booklet with extensive photos, a song list, discography, essays by Michael Brooks, Gary Giddins, and Farah Jasmine Griffin, and an insert of appreciations for Holiday from a diversity of figures including Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, B.B. King, Abbey Lincoln, Jill Scott, and Lucinda Williams. At the 44th Grammy Awards on February 27, 2002, the box set won the Grammy Award for Best Historical Album of the previous year.
"Avalon" is a 1920 popular song written by Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva and Vincent Rose referencing Avalon, California. It was introduced by Jolson and interpolated in the musicals Sinbad and Bombo. Jolson's recording rose to number two on the charts in 1921. The song was possibly written by Rose, but Jolson's popularity as a performer allowed him to claim composer co-credit. Originally, only Rose and Jolson were credited, and DeSylva's name was added later.
Floyd George Smith, sometimes credited as Floyd "Guitar" Smith, was an American jazz guitarist and record producer.
The Golden Gate Ballroom, originally named the "State Palace Ballroom", was a luxurious ballroom located at the intersection of Lenox Avenue and 142nd Street in Harlem. It was allegedly the largest public auditorium in Harlem, with 25,000 square feet and a capacity of about 5,000 people on the dance floor in addition to several thousand spectators.
Jimmie Gordon was an American Chicago blues pianist, singer, and songwriter. In the course of his career he accompanied Memphis Minnie, Bumble Bee Slim, and Big Bill Broonzy, amongst others. He had a hit with "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water" (1936) and was active on the Chicago blues scene for a number of years leading up to World War II. He is known to have recorded 67 tracks between 1934 and 1946. Gordon was a mainstay of Decca Records during the 1930s and early 1940s, with his recorded work utilizing a piano accompaniment, as well as guitar, or with a small band that he assembled for the work.
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