Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jim Cullum Jazz Band: Super Satch

A powerful cornetist inspired by Louis Armstrong, Jim Cullum has led an exciting jazz band in San Antonio since his father's death in the 1970s. A clarinetist, Jim Sr. led the Happy Jazz Band with Jim Jr. on cornet, recording for their own Audiophile and Happy Jazz labels. The younger Cullum, who has recorded a Porgy & Bess jazz set for Sony and tributes to Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael, has made quite a few rewarding albums for Stomp Off and Audiophile, plus a Christmas record for World Jazz. Since the late '80s, Cullum's band has been featured on a highly enjoyable radio series, Riverwalk, Live From the Landing, whose special shows have given the group the opportunity to show its versatility. Among Cullum's most notable sidemen of the 1980s and '90s have been clarenetists Allan Vaché (brother of cornetist Warren) and Brian Ogilvie, trombonist Mike Pittsley, and pianist John Sheridan.

Super Satch! Yes indeed .. this is an ingeniously scored and superbly executed tribute to Louis Armstrong. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, a premier band held in great esteem by other traditional jazz musicians, here goes to the essence of Satchmo's jazz, concentrating on Hot Five and Hot Seven repertoire with some attention to Armstrong's later periods. British co-author of the book Louis, John Chilton writes in the liner notes, "I feel sure that a look of true pleasure would are so apparent on this album. It will delight lovers of Louis's music by reminding them of his monumental achievements, and it will also win The Jim Cullum Jazz Band many new fans who will be enthralled by the musicianship and feeling that makes this one of the finest tribute recordings in years.
~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

On this tribute to Louis Armstrong, Jim Cullum's Jazz Band at times expands from being a septet to an octet with the addition of trombonist Ed Hubble and (on some selections) the switching of Randy Reinhart from trombone to second cornet behind the leader. Cullum is a spectacular player who was influenced by (but does not copy) Armstrong. The band performs a dozen selections from the 1920s and '30s that were associated with Satch. Cullum showed a lot of courage in remaking such classics as "Potato Head Blues," "West End Blues" and "Weather Bird" but his versions are different enough from the originals so as to avoid close comparison. Other highlights include "Fireworks," the underrated "Hustlin' and Bustlin' for Baby," "Beau Koo Jack" and "Chicago Breakdown." Highly recommended to prebop jazz collectors. ~ Scott Yanow

01. Potato Head Blues [5:15]
02. Yes! I'm In The Barrell [4:00]
03. Fireworks [5:45]
04. Hustlin' & Bustlin' For My Baby [3:50]
05. S.O.L. Blues [7:26]
06. Beau Koo Jack [4:07]
07. He's A Son Of The South [4:30]
08. West End Blues [5:33]
09. Chicago Breakdown [4:45]
10. Weather Bird Rag [5:29]
11. Tight Like This [5:22]
12. Put 'Em Down Blues [5:42]


Jim Cullum Jr (cnt)
Allan Vache (cl)
Ed Hubble (tm)
Randy Reinhart (tm)
John Sheridan (pn)
Howard Elkins (bj,gt,voc)
Jack Wyatt (st bs)
Ed Torres (dm.)
Recorded October 21-22, 1986.

Listen to the Jim Cullum's Jazz Band live weekly at Riverwalk Jazz Radio:



  1. Dear Jay,

    The Royal Opera House is currently preparing to stage Voices Across The World, this year’s annual summer celebration of traditional and contemporary music from a variety of global cultures that will take place on 31st of July.

    Twelve singers will perform unplugged, either a cappella or with minimal accompaniment in the Paul Hamlyn Hall between 2pm and 6.30 pm followed by a thrilling improvised session with electronic artist Andrew McDonnell in Linbury Studio at 7 pm.

    We are very interested in attracting both old and new audiences, and particularly interesting is the focus on different singing traditions and the uniqueness of the human voice, which we would love audiences to experience.

    We think this could be of an interest to your readers. You can find more information about the production on our website:

    Would it be possible for us to leave a comment on your blog inviting audiences to this show, or could you cover the upcoming production yourself?

    Kind regards,


    Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7010 8561

  2. All links have been taken down.

    Any chance of a re-up?

  3. @Philo:
    Sorry, but I think Mr Cullum or his record company has something on this, so no way for re-up. Try it by (my) email: if you don't have any other way of listening this record.

  4. Thanks for your reply.

    I didn't know the album was still in print. I have found an inexpensive copy offered for sale on the net. Should have it in a few days.