Trinidad-born vocalist and Broadway veteran Terry Burrell joins The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and piano giant Dick Hyman on stage at Manhattan’s much-loved, annual summer concert series Jazz in July at the 92nd Street Y with music from early 20th century jazzmen— Jelly Roll, King Oliver and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Dick Hyman served as artistic director and host for the “Jazz in July” series at New York’s famed 92nd St. Y for over two decades, presiding over popular and critically acclaimed concerts in the venue’s grand, old Kaufman Concert Hall. Hyman frequently invited the Cullum Band to appear as featured guests as was the case in July 1994 when this edition of our broadcast series, “Riverwalk, Live From Manhattan“ was recorded live at the 92nd Street Y with Dick Hyman and singer and actor Terry Burrell.
Terry Burrell has charmed Broadway audiences in Three Penny Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swinging on a Star, Into The Woods, Dreamgirls and Honky Tonk Nights. In 2012 she wrote and starred in Ethel, a stage tribute to Cotton Club star Ethel Waters. On this edition of Riverwalk Jazz, Ms. Burrell, along with Mr. Hyman and The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, performs selections from Jelly Roll Morton, the early 20th-century piano master and composer who claimed to be the “inventor of jazz and stomps.” Morton tunes here include: “Mr. Jelly Lord” and “Milenberg Joys,” well-known Morton classics that are now fixtures of the traditional jazz canon. “I Hate a Man Like You” offers a rare female point of view on a love affair “gone bad,” a perspective seldom heard from the notoriously egocentric Morton. Also on this broadcast are two Morton piano masterpieces performed by Dick Hyman and John Sheridan on duo pianos: “Grandpa’s Spells” and “Frog-I-More Rag.”
Terry Burrell teams up with Hyman and the Cullum Band on a romp through a tune long associated with Morton, if not actually composed by him. “The Animule Dance” (also known as “The Animule Ball”) dates from 1906. Jelly Roll Morton dances around the tune’s genealogy in an interview recorded for the Library of Congress:
“You see, the “Animule Dance” is a number that was ages old. I wrote the number and ten thousand claimed it. I don’t believe it’s ever been published. I don’t guess it ever will be published. Or maybe it will. Since so many claimed it, I thought I wouldn’t try to claim it. But there’s nobody ever been able to do it so far but myself.”
Cornetist/bandleader Joe “King” Oliver (1881-1938) was born in Louisiana but found success in the dance halls and clubs of Chicago’s South Side in the 1920s, where his Creole Jazz Band, comprised mainly of New Orleans musicians, established a standard model of the traditional jazz band for generations to come. Louis Armstrong claimed, "If it had not been for Joe Oliver, jazz would not be what it is today." There are two classics from the playing of King Oliver on this program: “I Ain’t Gonna Tell Nobody” and Richard M. Jones’ “Riverside Blues,” both originally recorded by Oliver and his Band in 1923 for the Okeh label in Chicago.
The New Orleans Rhythm Kings were a band of white New Orleanians, transplanted to 1920s Chicago, who played jazz with the authentic swing feel and blues tonality characteristic of the Crescent City. Jim and the Band offer three of their most well-known titles: “Farewell Blues,” “Tin Roof Blues” and “You’re Nobody’s Sweetheart.”
Photo credit for Home Page image: Dick Hyman. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Text based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick © 1994