James Edwards "Jimmy" Yancey (c. 1898 (?) - September 17, 1951) was an United States pianist, composer, and lyricist, most noted for his work in the boogie woogie style.
Jimmy Yancy was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 20 of (depending on the source) 1894, 1895, or 1898. His older brother Alonzo Yancey was a pianist as well; their father was a guitarist. Jimmy Yancey started performing as a singer in traveling shows during his childhood.
Jimmy Yancey was a noted pianist by 1915 and influenced younger musicians like Meade "Lux" Lewis and Albert Ammons, but didn't record until 1939.
While he played in a boogie woogie style, with a strong repeated figure in the left hand and melodic decoration in the right hand, his playing was delicate and subtle, rather than hard driving.
Part of Yancey's distinctive style was that he played in a variety of keys but always ended every song in E flat. These endings added a strangely satisfying dissonance to every performance.
Most of his recordings were of solo piano, but late in his career he also recorded with vocals by his wife, Estelle Yancey, under the billing Jimmy and Mama Yancey. They recorded the first album ever made by Atlantic Records.
Throughout his life, Yancey kept a job as groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox.