Let the Good Times Roll: The Story of Louis Jordan and His Music

John Chilton, Author University of Michigan Press $37.5 (320p) ISBN 978-0-472-10529-8
Louis Jordan (1908-1975) was a great rhythm and blues musician who combined his talents as saxophonist and vocalist with showmanship learned as a child touring black minstrel shows with his father. Chilton ( Song of the Hawk: The Life and Recordings of Coleman Hawkins ) documents Jordan's life and career, showing how he developed from a sideman in Chick Webb's band to a bandleader with Tympany Five, the group he led, in various permutations, from 1938 to the end of his life. Jordan's engaging stage personality and passion for perfection contributed to the success of his band, which became popular as much for the flamboyance of the musicians, who dressed in bright colors and delighted audiences with well-rehearsed theatrics, as for an innovative style that some consider the forerunner of rap. Nevertheless, Jordan could be a moody and difficult taskmaster. The author's painstaking attention to every detail of Jordan's story, including his numerous failed marriages, and his careful analysis of his many recordings will appeal to jazz aficionados. Discography included. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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Paperback - 286 pages - 978-0-472-08478-4
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