For over five decades, the Jim Cullum Jazz Band has kept the traditional jazz sound alive, playing the music of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, and tunes from the Great American Songbook. You heard them on Texas Public Radio for 25 years as the stars of “Riverwalk Jazz,” and now Jim Cullum is hitting the airwaves again, this time with Doc Watkins in an intimate set recorded live at Jazz, TX on March 8, 2017.
The show includes tunes like “Basin Street Blues,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Everybody Loves My Baby,” and a beautiful duet on Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark,” played by Doc and Jim.
Jim Cullum and San Antonio go way back. His father started the Happy Jazz Band, and in 1963, Cullum Jr. opened The Landing with a few thousand dollars and a lot of help from his friends. “Every afternoon, we had a keg of beer and worked on painting the walls. It was a group effort.” The club moved locations a few times, eventually settling at the Hyatt Regency, and remained the Jim Cullum Jazz Band’s home until 2011.
Are audiences different now than back in 1963? “I don’t think they’re any different,” Cullum says. “You got some people who are really into the music, some people who are out just to get blasted, and some people out for other reasons we can’t talk about on the radio!”
Tune in to “Live at Jazz, TX” on Texas Public Radio on Saturday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m., or listen online in the Soundcloud link below.