From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Blythe, James Louis "Jimmy"

(born: 1901  -  died: 1931) 

James L. "Jimmy" Blythe was born the son of Rena Stoodel and Richard Blythe in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, FHL Film No. 1893066 in Ancestry]. When he was a teen, Jimmy Blythe moved to Chicago, IL, where he spent the rest of his life.

Blythe was an accomplished musician and composer. Considered one of the first Boogie Woogie piano players, he was also well-versed in most other styles. He led studio bands for several companies in Chicago.

Blythe made his first recordings in 1924, including Chicago Stomp, and made many piano rolls in the 1920s; he also did a few solos and was recorded accompanying a number of singers. He died of meningitis and is buried in the Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago. 

For more see Jimmy Blythe in Grove Music Online; Jimmy Blythe in The Rough Guide to Jazz, by D. Fairweather, B. Priestley, and I. Carr; and James "Jimmy" Blythe in The Red Hot Jazz Archive at

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Grove Music Online [New Grove dictionary of music and musicians (Online)]
NKAA Source: The Rough guide to jazz
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Burton, Evans, Jr. [W. E. "Buddy" Burton]
NKAA Entry:  Kentucky African American Musicians in Illinois (Chicago)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Blythe, James Louis "Jimmy",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 30, 2023,

Last modified: 2021-03-26 17:19:48