Dick Hyman's Life In Music This Week On Riverwalk Jazz


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In a recent edition of “A Blog Supreme" on NPR Jazz, Dick Hyman was referred to as “A Living, Breathing Encyclopedia Of Jazz."

This week, Riverwalk Jazz celebrates the music of Dick Hyman. Hyman discusses the musical influences that shaped his career, and he joins The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on pieces by his favorite composers, including George Gershwin, James P. Johnson and Bix Beiderbecke. Dick recalls his long collaboration with the late trumpeter Ruby Braff in a duet with bandleader Jim Cullum Jr. on “Wouldn't It Be Lover-ly?" from My Fair Lady.

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.

Prolific and versatile, Hyman played swing with Benny Goodman and bop with Charlie Parker. He’s been Music Director for Arthur Godfrey's TV show and for Woody Allen's movies Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Sweet and Lowdown.

In 1956, Hyman had a Top-10 hit single with “Mack the Knife" and in 1968 a Top 40 hit with “The Minotaur," the first instrumental single ever recorded entirely on an analog synthesizer. He’s made hundreds of his own acclaimed recordings and at least 1,000 more with other artists including a long-running stint as a studio musician in New York, recording with everyone from rock groups like The Drifters, to Perry Como and Tony Bennett. For seven years running, he was voted Most Valued Player by his peers at the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy.

Dick Hyman is famous for embracing so many styles of music so enthusiastically that he is sometimes known as a “musical chameleon.” He has always maintained a strong devotion to classic forms of jazz. Hyman has researched and recorded the piano music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake and Fats Waller, among others.

He took piano lessons from swing era legend Teddy Wilson and sat in with James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith at Manhattan night clubs when he was still at student at Columbia University. A high-school-aged Dick Hyman frequented Jimmy Ryan’s on 52nd Street to hear Eddie Condon.

Dick Hyman is the single most-appearing guest artist on Riverwalk Jazz over the years and is sometimes referred to as the “eighth member of The Jim Cullum Jazz Band."

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