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"Originals By Originals" This Week On Riverwalk Jazz

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This week on Riverwalk Jazz, jazz legends perform their own compositions with The Jim Cullum Jr. Jazz Band. We dig into the archive for “Originals by Originals."

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. You can also drop in on a continuous stream of shows at the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound.

Improvisation is “composition on the fly.” The jazz musician’s lifelong mission is to cultivate an improvising mind capable of inventing new jazz melodies on the spot night after night. The best jazz improvisation sounds spontaneous and playful—and yet unfolds with the logic of a story.

When a jazz player sits down to compose a tune he makes use of his highly developed ear for invention. Thus, many tunes written by jazz musicians have the loose, swinging feel of an improvised solo.

Benny Carter was a pioneer of the alto saxophone, playing in the bands of Fletcher Henderson, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, and his own highly acclaimed ensembles. He is also acknowledged to be one of the great innovators of jazz composition and arranging. Carter is heard with Jim and the band on his compositions “I’m in the Mood for Swing” and “Wonderland.”

Reedman Bob Wilber a protégé of the great Sidney Bechet, has long been admired for his compositional brilliance. He performs three of his tunes, “The Rabbit Jumps,” “Reverie,” and a tribute to Benny Goodman, “BG.”

Milt Hinton was one of the first bassists to play featured solos out in front of a band. We captured Milt live at The Landing in 1992 performing two of his originals: “Ebony Silhouette” and “Mona, Take Me Home.”

Bassist Bob Haggart was a founding member of the Bob Crosby Bob Cats, a popular hot band of the 1930s that took as their starting point the pure style of New Orleans jazz. Haggart’s rock-solid bass playing was a key ingredient. Haggart performs two of his well-known Swing Era hits: “My Inspiration” and “Big Noise from Winnetka.”

Other jazz greats on our show this week: Clark Terry, Dick Hyman, Jay McShann and Harry "Sweets" Edison.

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