It's New Year's Eve at The Landing on San Antonio's River Walk. The jazz club is packed with fans from around the world gathered for The Landing's traditional New Year's jazz party thrown by The Jim Cullum Jazz Band. You are invited to join the fun. So grab a seat, the music is about to begin.
At this special holiday event, fans decked out in tuxedos and ‘Texas glitz’ mingle with the ‘blue jeans and pony tails’ crowd. It's standing room only, and there's not much wiggle room, as the excitement begins to rise. Our show is a mix of traditional, red-hot jazz and blues combined with originals written by The Jim Cullum Jazz Band. Not surprisingly, the Band’s playlist tonight is full of numbers popular with both the musicians and their fans, and represent a typical night at The Landing.
"Deep Blue Melody" is a 12-bar blues from the Southwest territory swing band led by San Antonio trumpeter Don Albert. The style is reminiscent of Duke Ellington Orchestra recordings of the 1930s.
"Sophisticated Lady" is one of Duke Ellington's best-known ballads. Composed in 1932 as an instrumental, lyricist Mitchell Parrish of “Star Dust” fame later added words to Ellington’s music. Duke said it was his grade school teachers, not a Harlem jazz baby, who inspired his ideal of feminine sophistication. He said, “They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication.”
"Apex Blues" originated with New Orleans clarinetist Jimmie Noone and his Apex Club Orchestra. They played at a Chicago South Side nightspot called the Apex Club from 1928 to 1930. The Apex Club closed its doors after a raid by Federal agents for illegally selling alcohol during Prohibition. A native of New Orleans, Jimmie Noone was a student of Lorenzo Tio and Sidney Bechet, and he went on to become a significant influence on the young Benny Goodman in Chicago.
"Enchilada Man" is a hot and spicy original tune written by Jim Cullum in the form of a classic New Orleans march, complete with the typical "dog fight" strain toward the end.
"Aggravatin' Papa (Don't You Two-Time Me)," was composed by Roy Turk and J. Russell Robinson and was introduced by Florence Mills in the 1922 Broadway show Plantation Revue. It was a popular hit and widely covered by a variety of jazz and blues acts. Both Alberta Hunter and Bessie Smith made memorable recordings of it. This week's instrumental performance is by the duo of John Sheridan and Jim Cullum.
"Hiawatha (A Summer Idyll)" dates from 1901. Surprisingly, the composition is named after the town of Hiawatha, Kansas rather than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Song of Hiawatha.” Upon release, the composition sold a half million copies of sheet music, a major hit for ragtime composer Charles N. Daniels, also known as Neil Moret. The tune started a decade-long fad for "Indian-themed" songs. “Hiawatha” is often heard in hot jazz band interpretations, and in early New Orleans, the same tune was known as "Lizard on a Rail."
"Alice Blue Gown" began life as a waltz in the 1919 Broadway musical Irene, and found its way into hot jazz band playlists in swinging 4/4 time in the 1920s. The title refers to a pale blue- colored gown worn by Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. The color, nicknamed "Alice Blue," inspired a national fashion sensation.
"Butterscotch" is an original tune by Cullum Band pianist and arranger John Sheridan.
Clarinetist Evan Christopher is featured on a hot, up-tempo version of “Sonny Boy,” a number originally played as a maudlin tearjerker. Composed by Ray Henderson, Bud De Sylva, and Lew Brown, the tune first appeared in the 1928 "talkie" The Singing Fool, where Al Jolson sang it. Jolson's 1928 recording was a chart-topper for twelve weeks and sold a million copies.
Photo credit for Home Page. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band. Photo Riverwalk Jazz.
Text based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick © 1997