Acclaimed jazz saxophonist and bandleader, James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford was born on June 6, 1902, simply west of Fulton within the Evergreen group.
Lunceford was born on his dad and mom’, James and Ida’s, 70-acre farm in Evergreen. His paternal grandparents, who first arrived in Itawamba County as slaves within the 1840s, additionally owned some 320 acres of land in Evergreen.
Earlier than Lunceford was a yr previous, the household relocated from Itawamba County to Oklahoma Metropolis, OK. From Oklahoma Metropolis, they relocated as soon as once more to Denver, CO the place Lunceford spent the vast majority of his youth.
Whereas in Denver, Lunceford studied music underneath Wilbeforce Whiteman, father of famed bandleader Paul Whiteman. Whereas primarily referred to as a band chief in his maturity, Lunceford grew to become proficient on all reed devices.
In 1922, Lunceford made his solution to Nashville to proceed his research at Fisk College. Throughout this time, Lunceford performed in a band with Andy Kirk, who would later discover his personal solution to fame as a profitable bandleader.
After leaving Nashville, Lunceford started educating at Manassas Excessive College in Memphis. Manassas was the college for African American college students who had been capable of attend highschool.
Lunceford was initially employed to show language and bodily schooling, however in time, established himself as the primary public college band director in Memphis.
Lunceford assembled a bunch of his extra proficient college students to type his first band known as The Chickasaw Syncopators. Over the following few years, Lunceford molded this group of proficient however inexperienced teenagers into skilled musicians.
The Lunceford Syncopators laid their first tracks with RCA in 1930. As their recognition grew and alternatives elevated, Lunceford modified the band’s title to the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra.
Their greatest break got here in 1934 after they landed a gig on the Cotton Membership in Harlem, New York.
It was throughout their time on the Cotton Membership that the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, thanks largely to trumpet participant Sy Oliver, developed their distinctive model.
By 1935, the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra was thought-about one of many prime black swing bands within the nation, rivaling massive band giants similar to Depend Basie and Duke Ellington.
As a substitute of the usual four-beat rhythm, the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra utilized a two-beat rhythm. The Lunceford beat- because it was later dubbed- was copied by different massive bands of the time.
Whereas some might imitate their sound, it was their showmanship that would by no means be duplicated.
Their recognition was primarily based not solely on the flawless high quality of their musical productions, however their power packed reside performances which included comedy skits and a number of costume adjustments. Lunceford made the visible side of their exhibits a excessive precedence, with musicians performing dance numbers and throwing their devices within the air and catching them on beat.
In his later years, Lunceford was plagued with hypertension. After complaining of leg pains, Lunceford collapsed whereas signing autographs earlier than a present in Seaside, Oregon. He died in an ambulance on the best way to a hospital on account of what was later decided to be a coronary occlusion.
In 2007, the Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree was based by Ronald Herd II in Memphis, TN to present honor and recognition to Lunceford for his contributions to jazz music, particularly in Memphis. The Jimmie Lunceford Legacy Awards, that are handed out on the jamboree, are to honor musicians who embody Lunceford’s dedication to the musical arts in their very own careers.
On July 19, 2009, Lunceford acquired a brass observe on Beale Avenue’s Brass Observe Stroll of Fame.