Jimmy Yancey accompanying his wife Estella
|Birth name||James Edwards Yancey|
February 20, 1894|
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Died||September 17, 1951
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Associated acts||Jimmy and Mama Yancey|
James Edwards "Jimmy" Yancey (February 20, 1894 – September 17, 1951) was an African American boogie-woogie pianist, composer, and lyricist. One reviewer noted him as "one of the pioneers of this raucous, rapid-fire, eight-to-the-bar piano style".
Yancey was born in Chicago in (depending on the source) 1894, or 1898. His older brother, Alonzo Yancey (1894 – 1944) was also a pianist, while their father was a guitarist. Yancey started performing as a singer in traveling shows during his childhood. He was a noted pianist by 1915, and influenced younger musicians, such as Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons.
While he played in a boogie-woogie style, with a strong-repeated figure in the left hand and melodic decoration in the right hand, his playing was delicate and subtle, rather than hard driving. He popularized a left hand figure which became known as the 'Yancey bass', and was later used in Pee Wee Crayton's "Blues After Hours", Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Know" and many other songs. Part of Yancey's distinctive style was that he played in a variety of keys but ended some pieces in E flat, even if it was in another key. And he favored keys atypical for barrelhouse blues, like E flat and A flat.
Although Yancey didn't record in the twenties, he only performed at houseparties and clubs then, his influence was as great as ever. Only in 1939 Yancey made his first recordings, which immediately caused a great stir in Blues and Jazz circles.
Most of his recordings were of solo piano, but late in his career he also recorded with vocals by his wife, Estelle Yancey, under the billing 'Jimmy and Mama Yancey'. They appeared in concert at the Carnegie Hall in 1948. In 1951, the twosome recorded the first album that was released by Atlantic Records the following year.
|Year||Title||Label and Number|
|1939||Beezum Blues||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Big Bear Train||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Janie's Joys||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Jimmy’s Stuff||Solo Art 12008|
|1939||How Long Blues||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||How Long Blues No. 2||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Lean Bacon||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||LaSalle Street Breakdown||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Lucille's Lament||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||P.L.K. Special||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Rolling The Stone||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||South Side Stuff||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Steady Rock Blues||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Two O'Clock Blues||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||The Fives||Solo Art 12008|
|1939||Yancy Getaway||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Yancy Limited||Solo Art - unissued|
|1939||Five O'Clock Blues||Victor 26590-A|
|1939||Slow and Easy Blues||Victor 26591-B|
|1939||State Street Special||Victor 26589-A|
|1939||Tell 'Em About Me||Victor 26590-B|
|1939||The Mellow Blues||Victor 26591-A|
|1939||Yancy Stomp||Victor 26589-B|
|1940||Bear Trap Blues||Vocalion 05490|
|1940||Crying In My Sleep||Bluebird B-8630|
|1940||Death Letter Blues||Bluebird B-8630|
|1940||I Love To Hear My Baby Call My Name||Gannet 5138|
|1940||Old Quaker Blues||Vocalion 05490|
|1940||35th and Dearborn||Victor 27238-B|
|1940||Yancey's Bugle Call||Victor 27238-A|
|1943||Jimmy's Rocks||Session 10-001|
|1943||Yancey's Mixture||Session - unissued|
- 1974 - The Immortal Jimmy Yancey 1898-1951, Oldie Blues, OL 2802
- 1980 - The Immortal Jimmy Yancey 1898-1951 Vol. 2, Oldie Blues, OL 2813
- "Biography by Chris Kelsey". Allmusic.com. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
- Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed August 2011
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 193–194. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Olderen, Martin van, The Immortal Jimmy Yancey 1898-1951, liner notes, Oldie Blues, OL 2802, 1974
- Jimmy Yancey at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Redhotjazz.com biography
- Jimmy Yancey discography at Discogs
- Jimmy Yancey discography at Rate Your Music