Riverwalk Jazz takes up residence in Manhattan for a radio show recorded live at the famed Jazz in July series at the 92nd Street Y with vocalist Terry Burrell and piano legend Dick Hyman. It’s a “Manhattan Jam 94” as Broadway’s Burrell joins Hyman and The Jim Cullum Jazz Band with a line-up of classic jazz classics, including their spectacular performance of “Jubilee,” a song composed by Hoagy Carmichael for Louis Armstrong in the 1937 movie, Every Day's a Holiday with Mae West. In the “Jubilee” production number in the film, Armstrong leads a marching band and Mae West does a turn playing the drums. For this radio show, a film clip of the movie scene was projected onto a huge screen over the stage at the Kaufman Concert Hall. The Band led a live crossfade from the movie soundtrack to the exciting performance on stage with Terry Burrell and Dick Hyman.
Many of the musical selections on this production of Riverwalk Jazz originated with New Orleans jazz musicians. Classics from Joe ‘King’ Oliver, the cornetist and bandleader who came to prominence playing his hot New Orleans-style jazz at the Lincoln Gardens ballroom on the South Side of Chicago in the 19-teens and 20s, are on the bill this week, “Canal Street Blues,” “Sweet Like This” and “Too Late.” Louis Armstrong called Joe Oliver his ‘only teacher’ when it came to jazz and said, "If it had not been for Joe Oliver, jazz would not be what it is today."
“She’s Crying for Me” is the best-known tune by New Orleans trombone pioneer Santo Pecora—who, in his later years, happened to be an acquaintance of bandleader Jim Cullum. Born in 1902, Pecora joined the New Orleans Rhythm Kings during their rise to fame in Chicago in the mid-1920s, and went on to tour with big bands during the Swing Era. In the 1940s Santo Pecora returned to New Orleans where he was associated with trumpet great Sharkey Bonano. “She’s Crying for Me” dates from 1925 and has been a favorite of British trad jazz bands, as well as a tune often heard at Jim Cullum Jazz Band club dates and concert performances.
Keyboard gymnastics take center stage when Dick Hyman turns up the heat on a solo version of Jelly Roll Morton’s “Fingerbreaker.” The fireworks continue as Cullum pianist John Sheridan joins Hyman for a two-piano rendition of the rarely performed, early Fats Waller piece (“from 1923 and barely out of ragtime” says Dick Hyman), called “Wild Cat Blues.” The full Band rejoins our piano duo on Waller’s well-known “Handful of Keys.” We hear another side of Waller’s musical genius as Dick Hyman interprets his playfully romantic “Jitterbug Waltz.”
Trinidadian Terry Burrell is highly regarded for her numerous appearances in popular Broadway shows including Into The Woods and Honky Tonk Nights. In 2012 Burrell wrote and starred in Ethel, a stage celebration of jazz singer and blues shouter Ethel Waters, a star of 1920s Cotton Club floorshows and Broadway revues, known for making the iconic songs, “Stormy Weather and “Am I Blue,” famous. Terry Burrell has also performed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
Photo credit for Home Page image: Terry Burrell. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Text based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick © 1994