A major star in his day, Louis Jordan STILL remains one of the most successful chart performers in black music history. R&B, rock & roll and rap can all be traced to this man, as well as what became known as the music video.
From the Little Rock area, Jordan played saxophone and displayed a highly entertaining stage presence that mixed comedy, dancing, singing and his jumping band. He came from swing to develop the jump-blues style. He started out with the Chick Webb band in the '30s and became their popular frontman. His Decca sides of the '40s pretty much mapped out the future of music.
He produced "soundies", an early form of the music video, and did some acting as well, including one early all-black movie production. He pared his band down to a small combo of five men and that helped set the standard for the rock & roll bands to come. He also cut some duets with Louie Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and others.
He continued to play and record throughout the rest of his life, although his popularity dwindled and he was considered old hat by the early '60s. He did point out that rock & roll ripped off black artists. All told, he is one of the major architects of contemporary music.