Riverwalk Jazz: Live at the Landing

September 17, 2023Tamar Barzel

A black and white photo of a jazz band with musical instruments on a stage facing a large audience.
Jim Cullum Jazz Band performing at Carnegie Hall. Image courtesy of the Archive of Recorded Sound at Stanford University

From 1989 to 2012, Riverwalk Jazz: Live at the Landing educated and entertained public radio listeners with a program devoted to traditional jazz and popular music of the pre-WWII era, featuring performances from the Jim Cullum Jazz Band and guests. Riverwalk Jazz chronicled the emergence of early jazz and blues in the first half of the twentieth century using a rich combination of narrative, oral histories and interviews, historic music clips, and live recordings.

The Jim Cullum Riverwalk Jazz Collection online is a full-featured website that showcases a rotating selection of the nearly 400 original Riverwalk Jazz radio programs. The website also includes illustrated essays for nearly every program; photo galleries; additional audio content; and detailed information about the Jim Cullum Jazz Band players, their guests, and the nearly 1300 pieces of music they performed together.

The Riverwalk Jazz collection housed at the Archive of Recorded Sound contains the historical records and documents of the Riverwalk Jazz radio show, including physical copies of all the individual programs as well as other source material, elements, and files documenting every aspect of the show’s production. The collection also contains scripts and production files, business records, correspondence, photographs, and a substantial archive of tape recordings.

A related collection is the Jim Cullum collection.

An archived typed letter on Turk Murphy Jazz Band letterhead. It is addressed "Dear Jim," and signed "Best wishes, Turk."
Turk Murphy note to Jim Cullum, 1986. Courtesy of the Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University

Tape recordings and scores from the Happy Jazz Band and the Jim Cullum Jazz Band covering over thirty years of performances (1948–2007), as well as recordings by such noteworthy performers as Jack Teagarden and Bobby Hackett. Bandleader Jim Cullum (1941–2019) collected and commissioned the scores, which illuminate the bands’ vast repertoire. Most are in Cullum’s hand or include his annotations; there are also arrangements by John Sheridan, Cullum’s longtime collaborator.