Jimmy BlytheView in iTunes
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Considering how many fine recording sessions he was on in Chicago in the 1920s (particularly with Johnny Dodds), it is surprising how little is known about the mysterious Jimmy Blythe. He was raised in Kentucky, moved to Chicago in 1918, and studied with pianist Clarence Jones. Blythe recorded dozens of piano rolls in the early '20s. He began cutting records in 1924 (Blythe's "Chicago Stomp" from that year is considered by some to be the first full-length boogie-woogie recording). During the next seven years, he made a few piano solos; backed singers Viola Bartlette and Alexander Robinson; teamed up with Dodds in several settings; led Blythe's Sinful Five; recorded with the Midnight Rounders, Jimmy Bertrand's Washboard Wizards, Lonnie Johnson, and the State Street Ramblers; and cut piano duets with Buddy Burton and Charlie Clark. Jimmy Blythe died at the age of 30 from meningitis. A decent soloist and a superior accompanist, nearly all of Blythe's recordings are available on an RST CD. ~ Scott Yanow