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San Antonio jazz great Jim Cullum Jr. dies

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Printed Date: 05 Apr 2020 at 12:39pm
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Topic: San Antonio jazz great Jim Cullum Jr. dies
Posted By: snobb
Subject: San Antonio jazz great Jim Cullum Jr. dies
Date Posted: 12 Aug 2019 at 7:10am
Jim Cullum Jr. plays at the 2016 Distinction in the Arts awards ceremony, which honored him. Photo: Kin Man Hui / Staff File Photo / ©2016 San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio jazz legend Jim Cullum Jr., died at his Anastacia Place home on Sunday of an apparent heart attack. He was 77.

“He loved this city,” said his longtime companion, Donna Cloud. “He was Mr. San Antonio. He was at the top of his game.”

Cullum was best known as the leader of The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, which, beginning in 1989, headlined “Riverwalk Jazz” (originally “Riverwalk: Live From the Landing”) on public radio.

It was eventually syndicated to more than 200 stations nationwide and around the world, with jazz aficionados tuning in to hear the show’s introduction that went (with variations) “Welcome to Riverwalk Jazz, on the banks of the San Antonio, across the alley from the Alamo, deep in the heart of Texas.” Although new shows were discontinued in 2012, reruns are still available online on the Stanford University web page. 

During his long career, Cullum played alongside such greats at Pete Fountain, Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck. He was proudest of having performed with his father, clarinetist Jim Cullum, and the Happy Jazz Band in the early 1960s at The Landing, the first nightclub on the River Walk.

Born in Dallas on Sept. 20, 1941, Cullum was a dapper dresser, known for his neatly pressed shirts, silk bowties, suspenders and occasionally a fedora. He last performed Friday evening at the band’s regular gig at the Cookhouse restaurant.


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