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Jimmy Yancey

One of the seminal boogie-woogie pianists, Yancey was active in and around Chicago playing house parties and clubs from 1915, yet he remained unrecorded until May 1939, when he recorded "The Fives" and "Jimmy's Stuff" for a small label. Soon after, he became the first boogie-woogie pianist to record an album of solos, for Victor. By then, Yancey's work around Chicago had already influenced such younger and better-known pianists as Meade "Lux" Lewis, Pinetop Smith, and Albert Ammons.

Yancey played vaudeville as a tap dancer and singer from the age of six. He settled in Chicago in 1915, where he began composing songs and playing music at informal gatherings. In 1925, he became groundskeeper at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox baseball team. Yancey was a musician's musician, remaining mostly unknown and unheard outside of Chicago until 1936, when Lewis recorded one of his tunes, "Yancey Special." Three years later, producer Dan Qualey became the first to record Yancey for his new Solo Art label. After the Victor recordings, Yancey went on to record for OKeh and Bluebird. In later years, Yancey performed with his wife, blues singer Estelle "Mama" Yancey; they appeared together at Carnegie Hall in 1948.

Yancey was not as technically flashy as some of his disciples, but he was an expressive, earthy player with a flexible left hand that introduced an air of unpredictability into his bass lines. His playing had a notable peculiarity: Although he wrote and performed compositions in a variety of keys, he ended every tune in E flat. He was also an undistinguished blues singer, accompanying himself on piano. Although Yancey attained a measure of fame for his music late in life, he never quit his day job, remaining with the White Sox until just before his death. ~ Chris Kelsey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Blues Of Jimmy Yancey

1. Bear Trap Blues

2. Eternal Blues

3. 35th And Dearborn

4. I Received A Letter

5. I Love To Hear My Baby Call My Name

6. Cryin' In My Sleep

7. Death Letter Blues

8. Big Bear Train

9. Shave 'Em Dry

10. At The Window

11. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor

12. Pallet On The Floor

13. Yancey's Mixture

14. Everlasting Blues

15. Keep A Knockin'

16. How Long Blues

17. Jimmy's Goodnight Blues

18. How Long Blues (Alternate Take)

19. Ecstatic Rag

20. The Mellow Blues

21. East St. Louis Blues

x

Track List: Boogie Woogie Stompin' Blues

1. Jimmy's Stuff

2. White Sox Stomp

3. The Fives

4. La Salle Street Breakdown

5. Two O'Clock Blues

6. Janie's Joys

7. Midnight Stomp

8. Lean Bacon

9. Lucille's Lament

10. Beezum Blues

11. Yancey Limited

12. Rolling The Stone

13. Steady Rock Blues

14. P.L.K. Special

15. Yancey's Getaway

16. How Long Blues

17. How Long Blues, No. 2

18. Yancey Stomp

19. State Street Special

20. Tell 'Em About Me

x

Track List: Boogie Woogie Blues

1. Yancey Special

2. Old Quaker Blues

3. Yancey's Bugle Call (Take 2)

4. 35th And Dearborn (Take 1)

5. 35th And Dearborn (Take 2)

6. The Yancey Special

7. Assembly Call Boogie

8. The Rocks

9. Hobo Rag

10. Slow And Easy Blues

11. Boodlin'

12. Barber Shop Rage

13. Five O'clock Blues

14. Sweet Patootie

15. How Long Blues

16. Everybody's Rag

17. Twelfth Street Raga

18. Jimmy's Rocks

x

Track List: Jimmy Yancey Vol. 2 1940 - 1943

1. Bear Trap Blues

2. Old Quaker Blues

3. 35th And Dearborn

4. I Love To Hear My Baby Call My Name

5. Cryin' In My Sleep

6. Death Letter Blues (053437)

7. Yancey's Bugle Call (Take 1)

8. Yancey's Bugle Call (Take 2)

9. 35th And Dearborn (Take 1)

10. 35th And Dearborn (Take 2)

11. Boodlin'

12. Yancey's Mixture

13. Death Letter Blues (115)

14. Sweet Patootie

15. How Long Blues (2005)

16. How Long Blues (Alt. Take)

17. The Rocks

18. Jimmy's Rocks

19. How Long Blues (Vocals)

x

Track List: Jimmy Yancey Vol. 1 1939 - 1940

1. Jimmy's Stuff (Jimmy's Stuff No. 2)

2. The Fives

3. La Salle Street Breakdown

4. Two O'Clock Blues

5. Janie's Joys

6. Lean Bacon

7. Big Beartrain

8. Lucille's Lament

9. Beezum Blues

10. Yancey Limited

11. Rolling The Stone

12. Steady Rock Blues

13. P.L.K. Special

14. South Side Stuff

15. Yancey's Getaway

16. How Long Blues

17. How Long Blues No. 2

18. Yancey Stomp

19. State Street Special

20. Tell 'Em About Me

21. Five O'Clock Blues

22. Slow And Easy Blues

23. The Mellow Blues

24. I Received A Letter

25. East St. Louis Blues

x

Track List: In The Beginning

1. Jimmy's Stuff No.2

2. Rolling The Stone

3. Steady Rock Blues

4. P.L.K. Blues

5. South Side Stuff

6. Yancey's Getaway

7. La Salle Street Breakdown

8. Two O'Clock Blues

9. Janie's Joys

10. Lean Bacon

11. Big Bear Train

12. Lucille's Lament

Comments

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douglasgarbe r 4
One of the greatest unknown blues piano players in the world
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douglasgarbe r 4
One of the greatest unknow Blues Piano playersd of his time.
Report as inappropriate
Absolutely brilliant piano playing. Outstanding!
Report as inappropriate
Never heard of this gentleman till now.....ther e are so many really great piano players that Pandora has in their library..... . O f all the music on Pandora, Boogie Woogie Is my all time favorite.
Report as inappropriate
This guy is the Greatest (to me, anyway) of all the Boogie-Woogi e greats. He has a left-hand that is UNSURPASSED! That he is not more known is a great loss. I hope, through Pandora, his name & fame may be spread. And that more young pianists learn to play him, now that the sheet music is out there online!! Play on....
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Easy listening.

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