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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Dick and Kiz Harp: Down at the 90th Floor

The story of a husband-and-wife jazz duo who ran and performed in a Texas nightclub in the late 1950s. The two LPs they recorded have won them a cult following.

Harp friend and record producer Bruce Collier joins Night Lights this week for a program about this tragically short-lived duo.

Dick and Kiz Harp were a husband-and-wife, piano-and-vocals duo who ran their own nightclub (converted from a warehouse and called “The 90th Floor,” after a lesser-known Cole Porter song they performed) in Dallas, Texas at the end of the 1950s. They’ve developed a cult following among jazz-vocal aficionados on the basis of two obscure LPs. The Harps, influenced by artists such as Sylvia Sims, Anita O’Day, and Dick Marx’s Chicago trio, came up with their own sound—a blend of cabaret, torch song, and Midwestern camp—riding strongly on Kiz Harp’s magnetic stage presence and slightly hoarse, soulful voice (a listener described her as “Jeri Southern smoking two packs a day”). Their career ended suddenly and tragically in 1960. We’ll hear music from both of their albums (available again at 90th Floor Records) and we’ll talk with Bruce Collier, the founder and owner of 90th Floor Records, who recorded both Harp LPs.

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