Louis Jordan
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Il sassofonista e cantante Louis Jordan (nato in Arkansas) prese la struttura delle big band di jazz dell'era swing, la ridusse a sette-otto unita`, affilo` il ritmo degli accompagnamenti, e trasformo` i testi delle canzoni in scenette umoristiche. Dopo un apprendistato nel mondo del jazz di New York, dal 1929 in poi, la sua carriera maggiore prese il via nel 1938, quando la morte di un bandleader lascio' i membri della sua orchestra senza lavoro. Jordan impiego` tre anni a rifinire uno stile eclettico e spettacolare, battezzato "shuffle", che funse da annunziazione del rock and roll. I suoi Tympany Five, che andarono dai cinque ai nove membri, pennellarrono alcuni dei massimi hit ballabili dell'epoca: Fore Day Blues (1939), Somebody Done Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man (1940), l'anthem Outskirts Of Town (1941), Is You Is (1944) , l'irruente Caldonia (1945), Beware Brother Beware (1946), la satirica Choo Choo Ch'boogie (1946), il suo maggior successo. La rivoluzione di Jordan consistette nel cantare i temi tipici della comunita` nera (lavoro, sesso, alcool, festa) senza mostrare il coinvolgimento tipico del bluesman, ma anzi con un tono distaccato, quasi divertito (e con una dizione molto chiara), tanto che le sue canzoni costituiscono un corrispettivo musicale della "Capanna dello zio Tom".

His last hits included Beware Brother Beware (1946), Let the Good Times Roll (1946), Stone Cold Dead in the Market (1946), which was actually a cover of Frederick "Wilmoth Houdini" Hendricks' calypso He Had It Coming (1939), Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens (1946), Saturday Night Fish Fry (1948), Cole Slaw (1949), an adaptation of Jesse Stone's Sorghum Switch, School Days (1950), Blue Light Boogie (1950), Teardrops from my Eyes (1951).

A new style was born in New York thanks to saxophonist, vocalist and bandleader Louis Jordan, who became one of the best-selling artists of his time. Jordan (who had inherited a band in 1938) shrank down the size of swing's orchestras, emphasized the dance rhythm (the "shuffle"), sharpened the sax and trumpet counterpoint, and sang the hardship of black life in a detached (almost ironic) tone. His Tympany Five, that ranged from five to nine members, penned At The Swing Cats Ball (1939), Fore Day Blues (1939) and Somebody Done Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man (1940) before becoming hit makers with Outskirts Of Town (1941), Five Guys Named Joe (1942), Is You Is (1944), Caldonia (1945), Stone Cold Dead In The Market (1945), a duet with jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, Choo Choo Ch'Boogie (1946), the multi-million seller that changed the history of black music, Beans and Cornbread (1947). These songs defined "jump Blues", the uptempo, jazz-tinged style of blues that ruled the race charts after the war. Few people noticed it, but Carl Hogan played a powerful guitar riff on Jordan's Ain't That Just Like a Woman (1945) that, ten years later, would make Chuck Berry's fortune.
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