A multitalented musician responsible for the “jumpin’ jive” sound that influenced titans Ray Charles, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, James Brown and others, Louis Jordan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Several tributes are in the works to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Jordan’s birth on July 8, 1908. (AP photo)
BRINKLEY, Ark. — Is you is or is you ain’t a Louie Jordan fan?
The famed 1940s vocalist, bandleader and saxophonist from Arkansas gave the world a “jumpin’ jive” sound that influenced Ray Charles, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, James Brown and others. Jordan’s mix of jazz and blues, playful lyrics and strong rhythms excited audiences and made him among the first black performers to have crossover appeal with whites.
Called the “King of Rhythm and Blues,” Jordan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and celebrated in the Broadway hit “Five Guys Named Moe.”
In this centennial year of Jordan’s birth, July 8, 1908, the U.S. Postal Service plans next month to issue a postage stamp in his honor, one of five in the service’s Vintage Black Cinema series.
Fans in Jordan’s home state of Arkansas pay tribute to him at festivals, museums and on the radio. A documentary about his life, “Is you is … The Louie Jordan Story,” is due out this fall.
Still, music lovers say appreciation of Jordan’s cultural contributions to the world is underwhelming.(p2)
The official site of director Kevin Clark's documentary about R&B legend Jordan, featuring background information on the artist, production news, links and more. More »
Homepage of the Helena, Ark., museum dedicated to the history of the Arkansas Delta, which is hosting a number of Jordan-related exhibits throughout 2008 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. More »
Where fact and fiction separate in Boston blues icon Weepin' Willie Robinson’s life story is difficult to say. One thing that’s certain: his life paralleled the lyrics of the songs he sang. More »