The Dirty River Dixie Band: High Life In San Antone


This capable band recreates classic jazz with confident brio. The late Jim Cullum was a friend and mentor. With two trumpets and a sousaphone on board, the brass dominated instrumentation implies Lu Watters Yerba Buena influences. However, the band’s style stretches more flexibly, including some Ellington and Goodman besides the early King Oliver standards.

Well-planned arrangements (Jungle Nights In Harlem notably) vary the texture of the ensemble, and allow space for worthwhile solo contributions from the rhythm section – e.g. Tyler Jackson’s nimble banjo picking, and Chris Alvorado’s engaging vocals.

The trumpet/cornet team gel comfortably with close rapport in Snake Rag and a well-performed harmonised rendering of Oliver’s classic traditional muted solo in Dippermouth Blues. Nick Brown’s enthusiastic clarinet freewheels confidently throughout, featured in Dinah, China Boy and a relaxed Moonglow.

Nothing innovative is aimed at, the band unpretentiously recreating, with obvious all-round enjoyment and appreciation, the entertaining spirit of jazz in its formative years. The band can be heard on Spotify, iTunes etc and CDs can be ordered by email –

Dippermouth Blues; Dinah; Moonglow; Snake Rag; Baby Won’t You Please Come Home; Stevedore Stomp; China Boy; Jungle Nights In Harlem; Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night; I Never Knew (44.04)
Kris Vargas, Curtis Calderon (t, c); Nick Brown (cl, ts); Ian Anderson (tb); Chris Alvarado (d, v); Tyler Jackson (bj, g); Dan Walton (p); Edwin Brown (bb). Undated, c.2020, Spicewood, Tx, USA.