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Jimmy Rushing

“Mr. Five by Five”

Jimmy Rushing established a style of singing that epitomized swing: he created a wonderful tension between band and vocalist by singing ahead of or behind the beat and toyed with the rhythm. He was a blues singer and a jazz singer, and his ability to work within both styles had an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of popular music vocalists.

Jimmy Rushing was born on August 26, 1902 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His father, Andrew Rushing, and his mother, Cora Freeman, were both musicians,and they were a big influence on him. The first instrument he learned was the violin. While at Douglass High School, he studied music theory. Through the encouragement of his uncle Wesley Manning (who played and sang at a local sporting house), Jimmy took up playing piano. He also sang in school and church choirs, and spent his summers traveling throughout the Midwest. After high school, he went to Wilberforce University in Ohio, realized it wasn’t for him, dropped out after a couple of years and moved to Los Angeles.

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