Fulton in Itawamba County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Jazz bandleader and saxophonist James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford was born just outside Fulton on June 6, 1902. He formed his first band, the Chickasaw Syncopators, while teaching at Manassas High School in Memphis in 1927, and by the mid-1930s Lunceford led one of the most popular orchestras in the country. The compelling beat of his blues-influenced music was captured in the band’s slogan, “Rhythm is Our Business.” Lunceford died in Seaside, Oregon, on July 12, 1947.
Jimmie Lunceford led a swing orchestra regarded by many observers as the finest in the land, and no less than Benny Goodman thought that Lunceford’s band was superior to those led by Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Lunceford’s paternal grandparents, Daniel and Gracy Lunceford, arrived in Itawamba County as slaves in the 1840s, shortly after the removal of the Chickasaw Indians. By the 1880s they owned a 320-acre farm, and at the time of James Melvin Lunceford’s birth his parents, James and Ida, owned a 70-acre farm in the Evergreen community; some local residents, though, recall that he was born in the Palmetto community. As an infant Lunceford moved with his family to Oklahoma and later to Denver, where his music teacher was Wilberforce Whiteman, the father of acclaimed jazz bandleader Paul Whiteman.
Lunceford’s many recordings included Blues in the Groove, Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan), and Uptown Blues, and, although he sold many records, jazz critics claim that his vibrant live performances were never effectively captured on wax. Lunceford’s group was noted for its distinctive two-beat rhythm (Fats Waller called him the “king of syncopation”), as well as its
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 131.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 16.365′ N, 88° 24.515′ W. Marker is in Fulton, Mississippi, in Itawamba County. Marker is at the intersection of West Wiygul Street and South Gaither Street, on the left when traveling west on West Wiygul Street. Touch for map. Located in front of the Play Garden Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 213 West Wiygul Street, Fulton MS 38843, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fulton (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Early Church Site (about 600 feet away); Aeolian Grove (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Cedars Itawamba Community College (approx. ¼ mile away); Fulton Grammar School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (approx. one mile away); Fawn Grove School (approx. 6½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fulton.
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia article on Jimmie Lunceford. (Submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Jazz history on Jimmie Lunceford. (Submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 12, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 202 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 12, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.