A steady stream of Riverwalk Jazz

Screenshot of Riverwalk Jazz website

Did you read the news a few months ago about the Riverwalk Jazz archive coming to Stanford? Now the collection of radio shows is available online, featuring two channels of continuous audio streams: http://riverwalkjazz.stanford.edu/.

As fans of the long-running public radio program know, Riverwalk Jazz tells the story of early jazz and blues as it evolved in the first half of the 20th century. Using rich narrative, oral histories and interviews, clips of historic musical recordings, and live musical performances by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, each radio show entertains and educates its listeners, promoting classic jazz music and an appreciation for its place in history. With this new web site, the series of programs is presented by the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound as an incomparable research collection for use by jazz scholars and fans alike.

From the home page, choose one of two channels available, click play, and like a radio webcast, hear the streaming radio program underway. Each channel runs a unique sequence of 352 shows in an ongoing loop, including some of the earliest shows which have not been heard in over 20 years. The arrangement is thematic, covering topics such as women in jazz, spirituals, hymns & the bluescivil rights, and hot spots like New Orleans, Chicago, Harlem, San Francisco, and of course Texas. Many programs focus on the lives and works of musicians, singers, and composers such as Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, George and Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter among many more.

Sidebar: The radio webcast approach to providing access to archival sound recordings is new at Stanford Libraries. For years, we have been providing on-demand streaming access to media collections, like Buckminster Fuller, Lynn Hershman’s !Women Art Revolution, and David Hamburg’s Preventing Genocide. With Riverwalk Jazz, for the first time Stanford Libraries is presenting audio content from its collections like a licensed radio station. We are excited to consider how to extend this delivery model for more collections of audio and video material!

The Riverwalk Jazz audio programs are supplemented on the web site with illustrated program notes, photo galleries, additional audio content, and detailed information about the Jim Cullum Jazz Band players, their show guests, and the nearly 1300 songs they perform together.

And the Riverwalk Jazz collection doesn’t stop there. This finding aid describes the large archive of tape recordings, scripts and production files, business records, and other documents preserved at the Archive of Recorded Sound.  

The collection is the latest addition to the Archive's jazz holdings; Riverwalk joins the likes of the Monterey Jazz Festival collection, the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation, the Ken Ackerman Collection, not to mention Jim Cullum’s personal archive.

The Riverwalk Jazz collection project is a collaboration between the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound and the Stanford Media Preservation Lab along with PVP Media and Propeople. We'll be adding new content to the site in early 2013, so if the non-stop audio weren't enough, there are plenty of reasons to keep coming back to the Riverwalk web site at Stanford.