Jump Music Recommendations

About three years ago, I saw a revival of Five Guys Named Moe and became enamored with the music of Louis Jordan. Since then, I’ve discovered Cab Calloway, Louis Prima, and Count Basie. Otherwise, I’m pretty much a jazz/blues/jump/swing neophyte: can anyone point me to specific artists or albums with the energy, sound, and craftsmanship of the above performers?

(I’m not counting in this people like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, all of whom I also love; while fantastic, they seem to me to play a different type of music than what I’m asking about right now.)


You should try The Brian Setzer Orchestra. The first album, Guitar Slinger, is OK, but the second one has more of the tunes you are looking for. Most of it will be covers so pick the songs you like and then go find the originals.

Gadrene wrote:

Well, that’s a damn fine list. But, I must say that it’s almost unnatural that Wynonie Harris isn’t on it.

I imagine Uke will soon be in here with enough recommendations to keep you broke and happy for the next 10 years.

Having just bopped over to CDNow and checked out some song samples, I have to say that this is a fantastic recommendation; I don’t know why I’d never heard of Harris before.

Thanks, Johnny Angel!

Thanks, tak! I’m familiar with Brian Setzer; I’ll pick up one of his albums today, maybe, and mine it for names. :slight_smile:

“Jump music” is a genre now? Wow, I knew about the Van Halen and Kriss Kross songs, but I had no idea it had grown so much. Gosh, the marketing of modern music keeps getting more and more specific, doesn’t it?

Not his later pop & jazz ballads, but his early swing & stride piano blues. He kicked.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.


There are apparently no Wynonie Harris CDs at any of my local record stores, so it looks like I’m gonna have to order 'em online. Bastards.

Do you have a particular Cole album in mind, Hodge?

I’ll check out Screamin’ Jay.

A wonderful but (sadly) hard to find group is the New Orleans band, The New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra.

I also recommend klezmer music, which has a very jazzy sound.

Here’s some of the best of what you’re looking for, in the Wynonie Harris mode…

Billy Ward and his Dominoes
Roy Brown
The Five Royals
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters
Big Maybelle
The Treniers
Chuck Willis

All these guys were recorded by King Records (except for the last three, who were on Okeh), and their best stuff was re-issued on CD in the early-to-mid 1990s. Part of the program was the Harris album you should be looking for: DON’T ROLL YOUR BLOODSHOT EYES AT ME: THE BEST OF WYNONIE HARRIS.

For a good representative sampling, try the Rhino compilation disc RISQUE RHYTHM: NASTY '50S R&B. It has selections from all the artists mentioned above, plus the indispensible Moose Jackson hit, “Big Ten Inch.”

At least you have local record stores. I have to drive nearly 40 miles to the nearest place where i can buy unedited cd’s. Goddamn bible thumpers.

The Nat King Cole stuff you want is the early material, from the '40s, before they threw all those big soppy string orchestras behind him. Preferably his groundbreaking Trio…just piano, guitar, and bass.

NAT KING COLE TRIO: INSTRUMENTAL CLASSICS on the Capitol label is great, but is more straight-ahead jazz than jump or r&b. THE BEST OF THE NAT KING COLE TRIO, on Blue Note, is excellent, and has lots of vocals.

AFTER MIDNIGHT is later trio stuff, 1950s, and adds guest jazz soloists Juan Tizol (valve trombone), Stuff Smith (violin), Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet), and Willie Smith (alto saxophone). It’s a GREAT disc, and includes the definitive “Route 66.”

Ahhhh, that’s the stuff!

Thanks, guys. I’ll check 'em out.

strolls away humming Life Is So Peculiar

Brian Setzer Orchestra is more rockabilly meets big band swing, I wouldn’t call it jump blues at all. Since you’ve discovered Jordan, Prima and Harris on your own, for a newer take on jump blues, try:

  • The Mighty Blue Kings (I forgot the album title, look for song titles such as “Rag Mop” and “Jumping at Greenville”)
  • Indigo Swing, both albums “Red Light” and “Swing Lover”
  • Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (not all jump blues, has some boogie woogie but still a stellar band. I recommend the first album “One Hour Mama”, over the second)
  • Royal Crown Revue - the best band in this list, because they are, while part of the neo-swing movement, not confined to any particular Neo-swing style. “Watts Local” from the “Walk on Fire” album has some jump bluesy elements to it, as well as “Walkin’ Like Brando” and “Work Baby Work” off of “The Contender”. There’s also “Walkin’ Blues” off of “Mugzy’s Move”. Hear clips at http://www.rcr.com

Gadarene wrote:

Honestly, I think that the internet is the best music resource I’ve ever seen. Fat chance of Best Buy having a Lillian Leach and the Mellows CD lying around waiting for some lucky customer, but I managed to find it online in minutes for only slightly over the decent retail price. It was worth it.

Also, there’s always the newsgroups. I realize that you, like myself, are a law abiding citizen who wouldn’t dream of downloading mp3 music', but my sources in Liberated Music Front’ have informed me that every artist on your list, and on the list given by Ukelele Ike appears in the newsgroups from time to time. Obviously, you don’t want to stop supporting the industry altogether, because pre-sixties oldies fans need their support more than contemporary music fans do, but it’s a good place to broaden your understanding and appreciation for the music of a bygone era, and thus make informed choices when you buy CDs. There’s always Napster, but good luck trying to find any Wynonie Harris there.