Alto saxophonist Louis (Louie) Jordan believed in entertaining people and making them forget the cares of the day. As John Chilton aptly put it in Let the Good Times Roll, his excellent 1992 biography of the hard working band leader, “[His] controlled passion and his ability to balance the emotional content of his instrumental and vocal work intrigued and attracted every sort of listener.” Indeed, it was his winning combination of sophisticated, uptown playing and downhome lyrics-epitomized in such songs as “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens,” “Beans and Cornbread,” and “Saturday Night Fish Fry”-that struck a chord in audiences on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. The considerable appeal that Jordan and his band held for America’s listening and dancing public is present on just about every one of this double CD’s 46 tracks, which he recorded for Decca between December 1938, six months after leaving Chick Webb’s band, and May 1953. (He continued to record for different labels until 15 months before his death in 1975 of a heart attack at 66.)
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.