Program : 
Hot Blues for a Winter Day

Bessie Smith, 1924. Photo courtesy Tony Russell Collection.

Grey skies got you down? This week on Riverwalk Jazz, The Jim Cullum Jazz Band turns up the steam heat with red hot blues. They get help from their celebrated guest performers—Dick Hyman on piano, Clark Terry on trumpet, and singers Topsy Chapman, Carol Woods and Linda Hopkins.


Highlights from this week's show...


Carol Woods, known for her  appearances in film, on TV and the Broadway stage, offers her bluesy rendition of "Muddy Water," and it's enough to warm up the dreariest of slate grey winter days.


A frequent Riverwalk Jazz guest artist, Dick Hyman evokes the winter season with his piano solo on a masterpiece of Harlem Stride, James P. Johnson's "Snowy Morning Blues." Later, Hyman and piano partner John Sheridan tackle two classic boogie woogie numbers.


Linda Hopkins. Photo courtesy LA Times.

Billie Holiday toured America in the 1930s with the big bands of Count Basie and Artie Shaw. Often, she found herself the only woman —and the only African-American— riding on a cold bus, hundreds of miles a day, for little money. Singer Topsy Chapman captures this lonely mood in a song from Holiday’s repertoire, "Travelin' All Alone."


New Orleans-born blues singer Linda Hopkins is perhaps best known for her highly successful musical portrayal of Bessie Smith in the Broadway production Me and Bessie. On this radio show Hopkins puts some heat into the mid-winter blahs with an early blues classic, "You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon."


Trumpet master Clark Terry recalls his days with the great Count Basie Orchestra on a blues number he often performed with them, "Sent for You Yesterday."


Trumpeter Yank Lawson and bassist Bob Haggart worked together in the 1930s in Bob Crosby's Bob Cats and in the 1960s formed the nucleus of The World's Greatest Jazz Band.



Yank Lawson. Photo courtesy Jim Cullum.

Bob Haggart. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Riverwalk Jazz fondly recalls their performance of "Dog Town Blues," which Haggart said was inspired by an old-style gospel vocal quartet of the 1930s, Mitchell's Christian Singers.


Photo credit for Home Page: Bessie Smith, 1924. Photo courtesy Tony Russell Collection.