Jimmy Rushing was known as "Mr. Five by Five". He joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1927, then moved on and joined Bennie Moten's band in 1929. When Moten died in 1935, Count Basie took over the band and Jimmy stayed until 1948.
Rushing was born in
Moten died in 1935, and Rushing joined Count Basie for what would be a 13-year gig. Due to his tutelage under his mentor Moten, Rushing was a proponent of the
When the Basie band broke up in 1950 he briefly retired, then formed his own group. He also made a guest appearance with Duke Ellington for the 1959 album Jazz Party.
His build earned him a nickname and a signature song, "Mr. Five by Five" ("he's five feet tall and he's five feet wide"). His best known recordings are probably "Going to
Rushing was a powerful singer who had a range from baritone to tenor. He could project his voice so that it soared over the horn and reed sections in a big-band setting. Count Basie claimed that Rushing "never had an equal" as a blues vocalist. George Frazier, author of "Harvard Blues", called Rushing's distinctive voice "a magnificent gargle".
After he became ill with leukemia in 1971, Rushing's performing career ended. He died on June 8, 1972, in
A Video Of Count Basie's Take Me Back Baby Featuring Jimmy Rushing