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A Riverwalk Jazz Valentine This Week

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Jim Cullum Jr.
Valentine’s Day brings out our most sentimental feelings one moment and then inspires the goofiest humor the next. This week, Riverwalk Jazz explores both sides of the coin on our concert of love songs from the interwar years, interpreted by our stable of great performers sitting in with The Jim Cullum Jr. Jazz Band.

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. You can also drop in on a continuous stream of shows at the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound.

Rebecca Kilgore is dedicated to preserving and interpreting great vocal jazz of the ’30s and ’40s, an era noted for high-quality songwriting and heartfelt lyrics. Rebecca performs worldwide at jazz festivals, parties and cruises. She is a frequent guest on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and has appeared with Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall. On this Riverwalk Jazz Valentine concert, Becky opens the show with a swinging ”Make Someone Happy” and “Swingin’ Down the Lane.”

Australian vocalist Nina Ferro now makes London her home. Nina interprets two great lyrics by Dorothy Fields on songs composed in collaboration with Jerome Kern for the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Swing Time—the romantic“The Way You Look Tonight” and the dry, ironic “A Fine Romance.”

Cole Porter’s irreverent, saucy take on love and romance comes across in Vernel Bagneris’ performance of “Let’s Misbehave” —a perfect pairing with the feminine perspective on the battle of the sexes found in Fields’ “A Fine Romance.” Vernel offers a playful rendition of Andy Razaf’s lyrics, replete with double entendres, on James P. Johnson’s, ”A Porter’s Love Song to a Chambermaid.” Nina parries with the complete, unexpurgated lyrics to Cole Porter’s triumph of punning double-entendre, “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love.”

To round out the final act of our Riverwalk Jazz Valentine, guitarist John Pizzarelli recalls the intimate sound of Nat Cole with “I Love You for Sentimental Reasons,” New Orleans’ Topsy Chapman celebrates the long-lasting, ”ever-after” kind of love with a jazz version of Irving Berlin’s “Always,” and Becky Kilgore longs to be ”The Folks Who Live on the Hill.” Broadway’s Carol Woods sends our Valentine’s wish with Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s salute to true love, “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

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