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'Hot Jazz' Lives On With The Dirty River Dixie Band On 'Live At Jazz, TX'


The traditional jazz torch is in good hands, thanks to the members of the San Antonio-based Dirty River Dixie Band. The founders, Chris Alvarado and Kris Vargas, were inspired to learn the Dixieland style after hearing Jim Cullum and his band perform at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin. Now, the elder statesman of the style has taken the group under his wing, even providing some early coaching.

Vargas recalls a time the group visited with Cullum at his home, late one night. “Pick your best chart,” Vargas remembers him saying. They counted it off, and Cullum cut the band off lickety-split. “All right. It’s all wrong… but we’ll fix it!” Cullum told the band.

You can hear the joyous result of countless more rehearsals on this episode of “Live At Jazz, TX,” featuring special guest vocalist Sarah Ulloa. Tune in Saturday night at 7:00, or listen in the player window below. This episode is sponsored by Whole Earth Provision Company.


POKER NIGHT with the band. Who wins?

Chris Alvarado: Well that's a good question. Usually we have a poker night every week. We haven't had one for a while actually, because I like to keep my money. I mean it's at my house-- and the house always wins!

Kris Vargas: And you're all invited! [Nodding to Chris] He's pretty good. When we go to New Orleans to go play [music] or to gamble, he usually leaves 'up,' and we always leave. Sad!

Chris: Not just that! They [other band members] lose their money on the first night out of like, three nights, and then they're asking me for money the rest of the time that we're there. So then I end up being the bookie, and you know...

Kris: Hey--asking money for bail is not asking to borrow money, it's asking to help a friend!

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.