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, 1986 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (1) Billy Ocean, There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry) ~ #2 (6) Genesis, Invisible Touch ~ #1 (2) Simply Red, Holding Back The Years


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

He taught music and athletics at a high school in Memphis, Tenn. There he formed a student band in 1927 that featured several talented young players who stayed with the band when it turned professional in 1929. After four years of grueling road work, the band attained popularity with prestigious engagements at New York’s Lafayette Theatre and Cotton Club in 1933-34. By this time, the celebrated arranger Sy Oliver was the principal architect of the band’s wide-ranging palette of sounds. ~ Britannica: Jimmie Lunceford ~ retrieved June 14, 2016 © Britannica

Jimmie Lunceford ~ Inducted in the 1987 Big Band And Jazz Hall Of Fame.

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