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Bandleader Jim Cullum Died

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by agedhorse, Aug 13, 2019 at 8:39 PM.

  1. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    I don't know how many of you players are into the traditional jazz genre, or listened to his shows on NPR, but Jim Cullum always had a great bass player in his band (or as a guest artist).


    I was the FOH engineer on about 50 of these NPR shows (Riverwalk Jazz) from about 1999-2005. All of the players played off of charts and would run through the material once then record the show live. Amazing pro players and great arrangements.

    [edit correction of dates]
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 11:05 PM
  2. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Personally not a jazz fan myself, but I'd like to offer you sincere condolences Andy if you guys were tight here and there over the years :sorry:

    (I know 'Amps and Cabs' is your main stomping grounds, but I'm thinking this post may get moved to a different forum eventually :rolleyes:)
    zon6c-f likes this.
  3. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Well, I can't "like" this post but I'd like to acknowledge my sentiment in some way, so I'm responding. I'm sorry for your loss of a friend, and for the loss to his family and the jazz community. It's a sad day when we lose a talented player and bandleader. RIP Jim.
    Winoman, zon6c-f, BassmanPaul and 2 others like this.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I used to listen to the Riverwalk show and finally saw the band live when my wife and I spent a day in San Antonio. Great music, great venue. Sorry to hear of his passing.
    Winoman likes this.
  5. nomaj


    Apr 2, 2012
    RIP Mr. Cullum.
    I always loved the easygoing nature of 'Riverwalk Jazz.' Jim Cullum and the band were ace players who sounded like they were having lots of fun doing what they did.
    And it was a special treat the times when the great stride pianist Dick Hyman would join Jim and the guys - Le Jazz Hot!
    Winoman and Stumbo like this.
  6. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I have been playing with Jim Cullum recently and played with him last Wednesday. It was quite a shock that he died Saturday. He was a nice guy and we enjoyed a lot of laughs together.
    rufus.K, Winoman, zon6c-f and 10 others like this.
  7. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    "Flamekeeper of traditional jazz" ... that's a fitting sentiment.
    Sad news, my sympathies Andy and Chuck.
    Winoman likes this.
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    It appears that it was quite unexpected from what I have heard too.

    He certainly appeared to be a nice guy, though quite intense and multi-tasking when the band was doing the Riverwalk Jazz thing. Most of my contact was on the technical and production side as the A-1 for a 5 year block of all-star live shows full of guest acts on the west coast. The longtime producer of Riverwalk Jazz was also the co-creator (and then significant other) of the NPR show Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion", and the level of musicianship was similar between the two projects as the standards were quite high.

    I'm impressed, playing with him is a sure way to keep your bass chops up. When I worked with the band, Don Mopsick was the bass player and of course his longtime co-conspirator John Sheridan was on piano, Allan Vache on clarinet and I think it was Hal Smith on drums.

    If any of you guys want to hear some great playing and are good with trad Jazz, it's well worth listing to.
  9. Jim was a close friend of our family since waaaaay back, probably sometime in the early 80's. He was my first real exposure to Jazz when we went to go see him and his band at The Landing on the river in San Antonio when I was but a lad. He was an extraordinarily kind, humble, ridiculously talented and funny man who was also very generous with his time. We've lost another great one, but his music will go on forever. RIP Jim.
    Winoman, sludgetail, ELG60 and 2 others like this.
  10. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I am playing with John Sheridan today. John, Hal Smith and I played a memorable concert a few years back backing up local singer Ken Slavin. Hal is a terrific drummer and a wonderful man.

    John wrote most of the arrangements for the Jim Cullum band and is respected as one of the most knowledgeable of the local pianists. He knows so many tunes and learned them from the original music so he knows the right changes. I learn something from him almost every gig. He also knows the verse to about every tune. His memory is impressive indeed. Jim recently told John that when he stops playing Jim would stop too because no other pianist can measure up.

    Yeah. I am blessed to work with these guys. My true interest is in blues and bebop but playing swing era music has taught me a lot. I actually learned to play upright bass because I got hired to play a patio gig every Sunday night at Jim's club called The Landing. The gig was acoustic only as amps were not allowed on the San Antonio Riverwalk. I played there for years and it was a sad day when Jim grew tired of the headaches of club ownership and sold the Landing.
  11. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    I would have to agree, John Sheridan is one of the best Jazz piano players I've ever worked with, unbelievably accomplished.

    You are lucky to have been able to share in that experience, as am I to have the opportunity to be part of that gig.

    I remember Jim talking about the constant hassles of owning the club, as we also owned/operated the venue that was contracted for the Riverwalk Jazz west coast programs (other than the few Stanford University programs).
    Winoman and sludgetail like this.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Missed this gentleman while he was alive, did know of some of the musicians he had in the band, though. Sorry it took his death to discover him, but thanks for turning me onto him, Andy. And condolences to his fans, friends and family.
    Winoman and ELG60 like this.
  13. Paul New

    Paul New Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    deepest alabama
    I ignored trad jazz until I heard and started listening to the Riverwalk show on NPR. That got my attention. RIP Mr Cullum.
    Winoman likes this.
  14. I’m saddened by the loss of another great musician. It seems that we are losing so many lately.

    To anyone who knew him personally I’m sorry for your loss.
    Winoman, sludgetail and ELG60 like this.
  15. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I caught a few Riverwalk Jazz broadcasts over the years - while I was more into the likes of Charlie Parker and Coltrane (and whatever else I was listening to at the time) than I was Swing music, the shows always caught my ear when I heard them (often in the car). The article quoted Jim as saying, "We're not preservationists..." You got the sense that they were enjoying and creating the music in the moment, not trying to present a "correct" museum-piece -- and it wasn't all "polite" music -- I remember a few burners in there. Neat guests and interesting themes for the programs, too.

    Past shows are archived online through the Stanford University Libraries at riverwalkjazz.stanford.edu.

    Thanks for posting.
    Haroldo, Winoman and agedhorse like this.
  16. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I remember walking into the Landing on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, late one night in about 1992 with a buddy. Jim Cullum was playing in there; I didn't know about him but my buddy was a trumpet player and of course did, so we stayed for two sets.

    Wonderful music that night and a good memory. Tough loss.
    Winoman and agedhorse like this.
  17. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    RIP Jim.
    Winoman likes this.
  18. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    jim's band would travel to the r.g.v. in the winter and i caught a couple of his shows there. in the late 80s or early 90s, my first wife and i went to the club on the riverwalk (in or next to a hotel at that time.) we worked our way to the front row. all the musicians were great, but the piano player was most amazing.

    silly pointless anecdote follows: at one point, jim ambled toward our end of the front row during one of his solos. he leaned over and i quite plainly saw him peek down the front of my first wife's low cut blouse. at that point, he blew a raspberry and lost his place in the song for a moment...the pianist had been comping along with his head down. he heard the bum note, raised his head, rolled his eyes to the heavens, and shook his head. made me laugh...
  19. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    Jim Cullum was a gift for the working musician. As a bandleader he hired players on a monthly wage that enabled them to make a decent living doing what they did best, play music. I know a number of pro players who worked with him, and have the greatest respect for him.

    Another player who passed recently was the great saxophone/clarinet player Bob Wilber. I had the privilege of backing him up many decades ago. What a monster of a player. Everybody’s heard of Benny Goodman but Wilber could blow the roof off too.

    Sad to see these guys go.
    MarkA, Haroldo and agedhorse like this.
  20. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Yup, a lot of players made it paycheck to paycheck with these gigs. I recall doing a gig with Bob Wilber and Dick Hyman maybe 30 years ago, a tribute to Jellyroll Morton show or something like that. I also recall a gig with Maria Muldar's son Jeff and Bob Wilber but that too is a hazy memory. I used to work with Maria pretty regularly, and Jeff would occasionally join her.

    All of these players were pros, a real treat to experience and be a part of while they were still touring. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Count Bassie at the end of his career as well as Cab Calloway as he was winding down his touring schedule. All of these guys were mind blowing players, and just as important recognized how necessary good arrangements were to the band's sound.

    Here's a picture of our crew with Cab Calloway back in t he mid 1980's, our LD, the emcee, myself (FOH), Cab and our monitor engineer. You will notice that for these gigs the crew was dressed mostly in jackets, that was kind of the style (our LD probably hadn't changed yet). Cab was one of the nicest, most gentlemanly guys I have ever worked with.

    Cab Calloway Group Photo.

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