0 Shouts - 85,863 Scrobbles
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".Read More...
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.
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.
During World War I, Yancey played baseball in a Negro league baseball team, the Chicago All-Americans. Throughout his life, Yancey kept a job as groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox.
Top SongsTotal plays on Last.fm over the last 6 months
- Yancey Stomp - 10,501 plays
- How Long Blues - aka How Long How Long Blues - 4,480 plays
- How Long Blues - 4,936 plays
- State Street Special - 4,732 plays
- Yancey Special - 3,353 plays
- Five O'Clock Blues - 2,908 plays
- 35th and Dearborn - 2,354 plays
- Jimmy's Stuff - 1,654 plays
- The Fives - 1,957 plays
- Lean Bacon - 1,583 plays