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Tue, 08.26.1902

Jimmy Rushing, Mister “Five by Five”

Jimmy Rushing

On this date we mark the birth of Jimmy Rushing in 1902.  He was a Black singer-pianist.

Rushing was born in Oklahoma City and reared in a family in which both parents were musical and an uncle was a pianist in a whorehouse. He attended Douglass H.S. and was a student of Zelia Breaux.  Rushing played piano and sang while attending Wilberforce University before joining Walter Page's Blue Devils, then the Bennie Moten band later in the 1920s.

When Count Basie took over the band after Moten's death, Rushing stayed on as the voice of the Count Basie band from 1935 until 1950, even working with Basie on special occasions and for touring later in the 1950s. His shouting vocal style had a bluesy, gravelly sound that fit perfectly with Count Basie's music.

Rushing as a singer also sang and recorded with Benny Goodman, Bob Crosby, and others in the late 1940s and had his own band with Buck Clayton and Dicky Wells. Rushing worked solo through the '50s and '60s, even recording in the early '70s for RCA/Bluebird.  Jimmy Rushing died of leukemia June 8, 1972.

Jazz People
by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York
Copyright 1976
ISBN 0-8109-1152-3

All Media Guide
1168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 USA

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