The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

1999: Louis Jordan

At the Swing Cat's Ball: Louis Jordan's Rhythm & Blues

The king of the jump blues, Louis Jordan was the honoree for the 4th annual American Music Masters Series. In the mid-1940s, Jordon pioneered a wild - and wildly popular - amalgam of jazz, blues and salty, jive-talking humor called rhythm & blues.  Blessed with a sweeping sense of humor and the ability to reach beyond traditionally-imposed racial boundaries in pop music, Jordan has a permanent place in twentieth century American music history.  With his wailing saxophone, whooping vocals, cleverly-created songs and arrangements, and superb showmanship, Jordan and his band, the Tumpany Five, became the link between pre- and post-war popular music in America and paved the way for the birth of rock and roll in the early 1950s.

Louis Jordan: Star of Stage and Screen

On Sunday, October 3, the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum showcased an exhibition featuring rare movie posters and memorabilia from the film and music career of Louis Jordan

Swing on the Avenue

During the entire week at the Avenue at Tower City Center, some of the best regional swing and jazz bands performed during the week, including Blue Lunch (October 4), the CWRU Jazz Combo (October 5), the Dukes of Wail (October 6), Joe Bell and the Swing Lizards (October 7), and the Matt Horwich Quintet (October 8).

All-Star Tribute Concert at the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square

Monday, October 4

  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • Ruth Brown [inducted 1993]
  • Hank Crawford
  • Bo Diddley [inducted 1987]
  • Duke Robillard Band
  • Big Jay McShann
  • Ernie Krivda and the Fat Tuesday Big Band
  • B.B. King [inducted 1987]



On Saturday, October 9, the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University co-produced a conference featuring a diverse group of panelists that spoke on Jordan's life and musical legacy.  Panelists included Berle Adams, Jordan's manager and agent; Rusty Jones, Vice President of Slim Style Records; Mark Anthony Neal, author of What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (Routledge, 1999); V. Vale, underground publisher and author of Swing! The New Retro Renaissance (V/Search, 1998); David B. Stowe, author of Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America; Grammy award-winning producer Bob Porter; jazz expert and clarinetist John Richmond; former Tympany Five member Bill Doggett; Rock Hall curator Howard Kramer; Julliard professor Greta Berman and others.

Saturday Night Stomp at the Odeon Concert Club

Saturday, October 9

  • The Atomic Fireballs
  • Al Kooper
  • Five Guys Named Moe
  • Johnnie Johnson
  • The New Morty Show
  • Bobby Rush
  • Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
  • Jimmy Vivino


Reet, Petite and Gone: The Films of Louis Jordan

On Sunday, October 10, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame screened full-length feature films starring Louis Jordan.

  • 1:00pm  Beware (1946, 64 minutes)
  • 2:15pm  Reet, Petite and Gone (1947, 67 minutes)
  • 3:30pm Caldonia (1945, 18 minutes)
  • 4:00pm Look Out Sister (1948, 64 minutes)
A photograph of Louis Jordan from the 2009 Sepia Magazine exhibit at the Museum

Additional Resources


I truly hope that this humble tribute to this great man and his music will help to let the world know how much those of us in the music business appreciate him.
- B.B. King in Let the Good Times Roll