Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b James Edwards Yancey, 20 Feb. 1898, Chicago; d there 17 Sep. '51) Pianist, singer, composer in boogie-woogie style: not the fast, commercially successful style but the original keyboard blues idiom: wrote 'Yancey Stomp', 'State Street Special', '35th And Dearborn', many more blues tunes enhanced by variations in bass line. He toured incl. Europe before WWI but was inactive in music from c'25, a groundskeeper at Comiskey (White Sox baseball) Park for years. Rediscovered during boogie-woogie fad; Meade Lux Lewis dedicated 'Yancey Special' to him (recorded by Bob Crosby band with Bob Zurke). Yancey made his first records '39 (now as In The Beginning on SoloArt; see Jazzology); with his wife, blues singer Estella 'Mama' Yancey (b 1 Jan. 1896, Cairo IL; d 19 April '86, Chicago) at Carnegie Hall '48 (she appeared there again '81); she also wrote songs; they recorded together for Atlantic '51 (LP Pure Blues); also recorded for Victor. Storyville LPs The Yancey--Lofton Sessions (two vols) incl. '43 tracks by Yancey, others by Chicago pianist/blues singer Cripple Clarence Lofton (b 28 March 1887, Kingsport TX; d 9 Jan. '57, Chicago; also recorded for ARC labels '35, Yazoo '37, SoloArt '39, etc).