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JAZZ with Tom and Jerry


Solid Serenade -  1946 - 7'-21"
was a tribute to The Jump & Jive Era of the Hep or Hip Cats (both terms were used) as portrayed by  Louis Jordan's rendition of

Is you is or Is you ain't (My Baby)
Louis Jordan

Louis Jordan was the dean of jump blues in the late 1940s and one of the most popular rhythm & blues artists of the post-World War II period. Taking a cue from jazz bandleader Cab Calloway, Jordan was as much a showman as he was a saxophone player, bandleader, and songwriter. He was blessed with a warm sense of humor and the ability to reach beyond traditionally imposed racial barriers in pop music. Throughout his career, Jordan routinely crossed over into the white record-buying market. He sold millions of records, wrote numerous classic R&B tunes, and appeared in movies.

Jordan was born in Arkansas and learned the rudiments of the saxophone from his father, who was the bandleader for the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Jordan attended Baptist College in Arkansas and majored in music. After a brief fling with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels, Jordan went north to Philadelphia and played in a variety of bands until he joined drummer Chick Webb's band in 1936. Jordan stayed with Webb until the bandleader's death in 1938. He then formed his own band, the Tympani Five (though the group almost always had more than five members), and signed a recording contract with Decca Records that lasted into the 1950s.

Jordan recorded a number of successful tunes, including "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" and "Five Guys Named Moe," before hitting big with "Caldonia", which was covered by Woody Herman in 1945. Other smashes followed: "Choo Choo Ch' Boogie," "Saturday Night Fish Fry," "Let the Good Times Roll," and "Is You Is, or Is You Ain't (Ma Baby)?" Jordan also criss-crossed the country playing countless one-nighters. Appearances in the films Meet Miss Bobby Socks and Swing Parade of 1946 exposed Jordan's entertaining talents to even wider audiences. By the late 1940s Jordan's brand of jump blues had convincingly made its mark in pop music and Jordan was a major star.

In 1951 Jordan formed a big band, but dissolved it a year later. He ended his association with Decca in 1953 and signed on with Aladdin, hoping to revive his now-sagging career. But clearly Jordan's best days as a recording artist were behind him. Rock & roll was about to become the rage, and rhythm & blues was beginning its slow but steady slide. Still, Jordan continued to perform and record. Stints with Mercury in the late '50s and Ray Charles's Tangerine label in the early '60s kept him and his band working, but produced marginal recordings. Jordan kept performing in the late '60s, mostly as an oldies act. Still other records were cut for the French company Black and Blue, and for JSP in the early '70s. By 1973, Jordan had cut back on his performances and semi-retired. He died of a heart attack in 1975. Jordan was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Iz You Iz - or Iz You Ain't (Mah Baby)
with Bass Solo The High Pitch is a whisker borrowed from the Mouse when a string breaks I think.

and while wooing the femme feline on the balcony - he plays with his feet.

The Zoot Cat
7.03 minutes 26 Feb 1944
Tom tries to woo his girlfriend with a 'Zoot' suit made from an Awning. However, Jerry ends up with the suit (after it shrinks in water) and the girl in the end.

This Tom & Jerry cartoon is a must-see for swing dancers. Tom, the cat, wants to impress a pretty swing vixen. He arrives at her doorstep, presenting a wrapped up Jerry as a gift. But much to Tom’s dismay, the jitterbug is not too impressed. Turns out that Tom just isn’t “hep” enough. “Boy, are you corny,” she scolds him. “You act like a square in the face, a goon from Saskatoon .... you come on like a broken arm! You are a sad apple, a longhair, a cornhusker! In other words, you don’t send me. So bail out brother! Get lost! And here’s your rat, cat!”

But brave Tom is not easily discouraged by rejection. He hears a radio advertisement for the latest zoot suit. And soon, he gets “hep to the jive” and sweeps the girl off her feet by asking her to dance. Swing, of course! If it weren’t for Jerry (who else!). The vexatious little mouse interferes by setting Tom’s foot on fire and by dancing with Tom’s girl!

Tom Gets the Unhip Cat Brush off

Smillin Sam The Zoot Suit Man - Radio Commercial
Gives Tom the solution to his wooing problem. Note the reference to the Zoot Suit with the Drape Shape and the Reet Pleats - devout oroonie

The Zoot Cat as he makes himself a zoot suit from a candy stripe awning in order to be hep to the jive, and in Solid Serenade, where he plays the double bass while singing Is You Is, or Is You Ain't My Baby to his feline femme fatale.

Tom and Jerry cartoon called "Zoot Suit Tom". The plot centres around a female jive cat who is attracted to "Hep Cats". Tom fashions himself a 'Zoot' suit out of a striped awning and then smashes down a lamp shade to make a "Tando" (wide brim Pork Pie Hat).  Lots of zany parody of the jitterbugging scene.


Zoot Cat 'Jackson' Finally Gets Hep to the Jive

Jackson' Sends her with a Charles Boyer Impersonation to a 'Deep Purple' Toon







But the things get Hot

Zoot Suits and Tando Hats

Yes they are still Hep - and out There!

Kid Creole - later exponent of Zoot Style


Dig this-

Briefly, Uncle Sam is shown exhorting you to go swing dancing and then to join him in one of the centre city's dining establishments for a sandwich and a soft drink; he reminds you to show respect for age.

Eddie The Editor -
Solid Serenade '46 and the Zoot Cat '44 are fond in my memory - come on you hep cats - send me your Jazz Cartoon.

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Last modified: 18/02/2012