Three Kings of Jazz: Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Jelly

Cornetist Jim Cullum has long been one of the most important voices in classic and traditional jazz. His father, the late Jim Cullum Sr, was a fine clarinetist who played with Jack Teagarden in the 1940s. In 1962s, when Jim Cullum Jr. was attending Trinity University, he and his father founded the Happy Jazz Band. In 1963 a club on the San Antonio River Walk, the Landing, became the band's home and (even in the decades after it moved in 1981) Cullum’s band still plays most nights at the Landing today  He took over the Happy Jazz Band after his father passed away in 1973, and it became the Jim Cullum Jazz Band. Since 1989, his group has been featured on their nationally syndicated weekly public radio series Riverwalk Jazz, performing 1920s and ‘30s jazz before a huge audience.

3 Kings Of Jazz is a three-CD set that features the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in the mid-1980s. A disc apiece is dedicated to songs associated with Bix Beiderbecke, early Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Leading a group that also featured clarinetist Allan Vache and trombonist Randy Reinhardt (who sometimes switches to cornet), Cullum, performs such joyous numbers as “Copenhagen,” “Singin' The Blues,” “Potato Head Blues,” “Struttin' With Some Barbecue,” “Black Bottom Stomp” and “Wolverine Blues.” The music, which avoids recreating the past in favor of coming up with fresh ideas within the tradition, swings hard, is frequently exciting, and is full of and passion.

SKU: CJ2567

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Copenhagen Susie Singin' The Blues Davenport Blues Ostrich Walk Margie Rhythm King I'm Coming, Virginia The Jazz Me Blues Potato Head Blues Someday, You'll Be Sorry Skid Dat De Dat You Can Depend On Me Poppa Dip Struttin' With Some Barbecue Once In A While Mabel's Dream Mandy, Make Up Your Mind The Chant Milenburg Joys Winin' Boy Blues Sweet Substitute Black Bottom Stomp Shreveport Stomp Jelly Roll Blues Buddy Bolden's Blues Wolverine Blues

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist No
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor No
SKU CJ2567


Customer Reviews (3)

"Regal Jazz for Sure!"Review by Big Toots
CJ 2567 3 Kings of Jazz The Jim Cullum Happy Band (3-disc set)

Taking on, and, in a manner, re-creating some of the best-known music of three of the greats of jazz is certainly a very daunting task. However, San Antonio-based cornetist, Jim Cullum and his all-star Happy Band are dutifully – and respectfully – up to the task. And, we’re the ones who get to enjoy. This recording is truly an experience and yields marvelous insights both comparatively and aesthetically about two legendary horn players and a diamond-toothed pianist.

Interestingly, the three discs are presented in reverse chronological order with Beiderbecke-affiliated music followed by Armstrong’s and Morton’s. That sequence provides interesting comparisons – melodically, rhythmically and in terms of improvisational approaches. Cullum and his team are supremely up to the task of providing a musical time-machine that takes us to a perfectly-interpreted landing field of the trio’s work. The group inflects the classic material in a swinging and very high style.

The Bixian selections are ensemble-dominant with superb collective improvisation the order of the day (“Davenport Blues,” “I’m Coming, Virginia,” “The Jazz Me Blues”). The All-Stars wail on through the selections which Armstrong made famous (“Potato Head Blues,” “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue,” “Poppa Dip”). The Morton material, while deriving from a historically earlier period in the embryonic days of jazz, is performed with the same energy and stylistic flair “(“The Chant” “Milneberg Joys,” “Buddy Bolden’s Blues,” “Winin’ Boy Blues”). This is an extravaganza of ‘Nawlins music.
Cullum is unadulterated swing throughout the entire 27-selection session. A consummate swinger with chops galore, he invokes both Pops and Bix, but add his own superb signatures along the way. Clarinetist Allan Vaché (brother of Warren) shines as do trombonist Randy Reinhart and the various rhythm sections.

While providing a marvelous history lesson, “3 Kings of Jazz” is a marathon performance by a brilliant ensemble that swings its crowns off and yet is supremely faithful to the royalty it salutes.

(Posted on 6/25/2015)
Jim Cullum: 3 Kings Of JazzReview by Simon Sez
Ever listen to Riverwalk Jazz, the exciting NPR series? Featured each week are cornetist Jim Cullum and his current band, playing classics from the 1920s and ‘30s in a very entertaining way.
3 Kings Of Jazz, which is a three-CD set, features the Jim Cullum band back in the 1980s. The band was just as good then with Allan Vache on clarinet and Randy Reinhart on trombone and second cornet. A CD apiece is dedicated to the music of Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong (from the 1920s). Cullum and his men do not copy the original recordings but instead have a great time jamming these great old tunes, playing colorful solos and exciting ensembles on classics from the distant past.

Simon Sez: Jim Cullum’s 3 Kings Of Jazz (CJ 2567) has his hot group playing a CD apiece of the music of Bix, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by Scott Yanow
"Traditional jazz fans will certainly want this large sampling of the music of Jim Cullum."

"Best known for his hosting and leading the band on the weekly Riverwalk Jazz public radio series, cornetist Jim Cullum has always loved playing Dixieland, 1920s music and swing. The three-CD set 3 Kings Of Jazz features the Jim Cullum Jazz Band playing tribute to Dix Delderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton and early Louis Armstrong by trombonist Randy Reinhart (sometimes doubling on second cornet) in the frontline, Cullum performs spirited and passionate versions of both familiar classics and obscurities that will delight trad jazz fans." - (Posted on 6/7/2013)

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