Famous Arkansan: Louis Jordan

Tomorrow, ( Aug 10)  2nd Friday Art Night is hosting: A Special Salute to Louis Jordan. The event is free and is at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock at 500 Clinton Ave.  As to an agenda, shortly after 5 p.m. , The Greasy Greens will perform a set of live music in the style of Jordan and his band, the Tympany Five. After the show, there will be a screening of the hour long documentary film Is You Is: A Louis Jordan Story. Producer Stephen Koch and assistant director Zachariah McCannon will introduce the film and provide commentary afterward. Koch is an enthusiast of Jordan’s music and the host of Arkansongs, the weekly syndicated radio program highlighting Arkansas music and musicians.

In light of this, this week’s Famous Arkansan highlights Louis Jordan.

Several well-known people have roots in Arkansas. The list runs the gamut from Johnny Cash to Jermain Taylor. Check here as we highlight a new Famous Arkansan each month. Today, Meet: Louis Jordan

Born in Brinkley, Louis Jordan ( 1908-1975) has been called “ the Father of Rhythm & Blues”. He studied music with his father and made his first professional appearance at Hot Springs Green Gables Club at age 15. During the 1930s Jordan worked with well-known bands from Philadelphia to New York and toured with Ella Fitzgerald.

He was also known as “The King of the Jukebox.” He penned such favorites as Choo Choo Boogie, Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens, and Saturday Night Fish Fry. Jordan also appeared in several movies that featured his music and toured Europe and Asia during the 1960s. He died in L.A.  in 1975 and is buried in St. Louis. In 1992, the musical Five Guys Named Moe, based on his life and music, became a Broadway hit. He is a member of the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame and  Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
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