Jimmie Lunceford, bandleader
birth name: James Melvin Lunceford

Jimmie Lunceford

June 6, 1902, Fulton, MS ~ July 12, 1947, Seaside, OR

Lunceford's orchestra helped popularize swing through throbbing syncopation, daredevil tempos and instrumental precision. When the band took the stage in the 1930s, ballroom audiences often were torn between dancing and watching. Arrangements had saxophone, trumpet and trombone sections seemingly conversing with one another, while musicians in these sections performed choreographed routines - twirling trumpets in unison or extending trombone slides in formations that just missed each other. ~ Wall Street Journal: Swing's Forgotten King ~ July 20, 2011 © Wall Street Journal

Jimmie Lunceford will long be remembered as the leader of a swinging big band that rivaled on record, and exceeded in person, the orchestras of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Count Basie. His band differed from many of the other big bands of the 1930s and 1940s in that Lunceford's group was noted less for its soloists than for its ensemble work. ~ Swing Music Net: Jimmie Lunceford ~ retrieved June 14, 2016 © Swing Music Net

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July 12, 1980 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (3) Bette Midler, The Rose ~ #2 (4) Billy Joel, It's Still Rock & Roll To Me ~ #1 (1) Paul McCartney & Wings, Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)


He used a distinctive two-beat rhythm as opposed to the standard four-beat. This deviation would come to be known as the “Lunceford style” and Fats Waller would christen him the “king of syncopation.” ~ Memphis Magazine: Jimmie Lunceford ~ July 1, 2013 © Memphis Magazine

Before the performance Lunceford collapsed during an autograph session at a local record store. He died while being taken by ambulance to the Seaside hospital. Lunceford was 45. Dr Alton Alderman performed an autopsy in nearby Astoria, Oregon, and concluded that Lunceford died of coronary occlusion. Lunceford had complained about an aching leg as they arrived in Seaside, and had been suffering with high blood pressure for a while, and had recently complained about not feeling well. Allegations and rumors circulated that he had been poisoned by a restaurant owner who was unhappy at having to serve a “Negro” in his establishment. ~ Wikipedia: Jimmie Lunceford ~ retrieved June 14, 2016 © Wikipedia

Jimmie Lunceford ~ Inducted in the 2012 Memphis Music Hall Of Fame ~ Memphis music is full of stories that seem improbable, even unbelievable. But none is stranger than Jimmie Lunceford, the North Memphis gym teacher who became an internationally renowned King of Swing. ~ 2012 © Memphis Music Hall Of Fame

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