This week on Riverwalk Jazz, it’s Hot Jazz for a Cool Yule as Jim Cullum Jr. and the Band welcome an all-star cast of jazz players, outstanding vocal artists and one masterful tap dancer to the stage of The Landing to interpret carols and holiday classics in a jazz mood.
The program is distributed in the US by Public Radio International, on Sirius/XM satellite radio and can be streamed on-demand from the Riverwalk Jazz website.
Tap sensation Savion Glover joins Jim Cullum and drummer Eddie Torres on a highly original jazz interpretation of the holiday classic, “The Little Drummer Boy.” A Tony Award-winning performer, Glover changed the way people think about tap with his hit, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, and his star turn on the sound track of the animated penguin hero in the film Happy Feet. Over the years, Savion has continued his creative experiment in dance, tapping to musical forms from hip-hop and jazz to classical compositions.
Ellington and Basie veteran Clark Terry offers his warm-toned flugelhorn version of “The Christmas Song.” Clark was the first major jazz brass player to popualrize the mellow flugelhorn, an instrument which plays the same notes as the more piercing and directional trumpet. Clark likens the difference to golf clubs, where the flugel is his putter" and the trumpet is his driver."
Milt “Judge” Hinton wrote in his autobiography that the bass is the Atlas of jazz," the other elements of the music resting on his shoulders. Milt steps out in front to plays the melody on the familiar “Winter Wonderland.”
Dick Hyman and John Sheridan play a high-energy version of “Jingle Bells” in the stride piano style reminiscent of Fats Waller and James P. Johnson.
Soprano saxophoniist and Sidney Bechet protégé Bob Wilber plays ”Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” with his full, burnished sound and driving swing feel.
Broadway’s Carol Woods sings “Santa Baby,” vamping it up in the sultry style reminiscent of the original recording by Eartha Kitt. Piano man John Sheridan sets sugar plum fairies in perpetual motion and gets a standing ovation for his take on the well-known holiday melody from Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker.”
Providing the perfect tree-trimming, mood-lifting sound track for holiday magic, The Jim Cullum Jazz Band swings through classic carols, including ”We Three Kings,” God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Joy to the World.”
All in all, it is a very Cool Yule.
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