A Review of the CD set "The Influence of Bix Beiderbecke" and Richard Sudhalter

by Albert Haim

Barry McCanna, list owner of the Yahoo group "American-Dance-Bands" has written a review of the CD set for the next edition of "Memory Lane." [ http://www.memorylane.org.uk/ ] Barry kindly gives me permission to publish his review here. Thanks, Barry!


Volume One: USA - You’ll Never Get To Heaven With Those Eyes (George Olsen); Where’s My Sweetie Hiding? (Perley Breed); Doo Wacka Doo (Marion McKay); Cataract Rag Blues (Curtis Hitch); Riverboat Shuffle (Jimmy Joy); Tiger Rag (California Ramblers); The Co-Ed (Arcadian Serenaders); Davenport Blues (Miff Mole); A Good Man Is Hard To Find (Original Wolverines); Liza (McKenzie & Condon); Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down (Jan Garber); Why Do I Love You? (Lou Raderman); Crazy Rhythm (Miff Mole); Hula Girl (Andy Aiona); Out Where The Blues Begin (Hotsy Totsy Gang); The Eyes of Texas (Carolina Club); *Broadway Rose (Dick McDonough); Alabammy Snow (Mason Dixon Orch); When A Woman Loves A Man (Roger Wolfe Kahn); Papa’s Gone (Fred Gardner); No Trumps (Fred Gardner); Little Did I Know (Casa Loma); Jazz Me Blues (Original Memphis 5); The Blue Room (Dorsey Bros) 78:29

Volume Two: Europe – Tiger Rag (Original Capitol Orch.); Riverboat Shuffle (Kit-Cat Band); Somebody Said (Crichton Lyricals); Sugar (FE); There’s A Cradle In Caroline (Rhythmic Eight); *Dance, Little Lady (FE); Some Hauntin’ Tune (Harry Hudson);*I’m Glad (FE); *Nobody’s Fault But Your Own (Jack Payne); Louisiana (JW); Oh! What A Night To Love (JHy); Forget Me Not (JHy); A Dicky-Bird Told Me So (JW); Gregorology (Gregor): In The Moonlight (NCK); South Sea Rose (NMDO); Every Day Away From You (NMDO); The Song Of The Dawn (JH); I’m Singing My Way Round The World (JH); A Miss Is As Good As A Mile (SH); Minns Du? (Helge Lindberg); A Ship Without A Sail (SH); Kalua (SH); Follow A Star –sel (NMDO); With My Guitar And You (Harry Shalson); Whispering (NCK) 79:08

Key: FE – Fred Elizalde; JH – Jack Hart; SH – Spike Hughes; JHy – Jack Hylton; NMDO – New Mayfair Dance Orchestra: NCK – Night Club Kings; JW – Jay Whidden *unissued test pressing

The aim of this compilation is evident from the title, to chart how Bix’s playing cast its spell over those musicians who heard his music, both in person and on record, and how that was then reflected in their own work. This aspect was touched upon in Volume 5 of the Bix Restored set, and care has been taken to avoid duplicating anything on that earlier reissue. Just to give you a flavour of the contents, the American disc kicks off with a June 1924 George Olsen recording into which, regardless of the fact that it was an entirely different number, Red Nichols interpolated note-for-note Bix’s February 1924 solo from “Jazz Me Blues”.

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, he did the same thing with Bix’s solo from “Tiger Rag”, during the California Ramblers May 1925 recording of the same number. And here we run up against one of those puzzles that have plagued Bix scholars for years, namely that the Wolverines recording wasn’t issued until over 10 years later. Max Easterman’s 28-page booklet provides an authoritative guide to this and every other track, dispelling the myths that have grown up around them, not least the thorny question of attribution. That is to say, many of the contributions on record, by such disciples as Andy Secrest, Sterling Bose, and Manny Klein, were virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article.

Turning to the European compilation, there were two reasons why distance did not diminish Bix’s influence. The first was that many of his recordings were issued in England on the Parlophone label, an advertisement for which is reproduced, and reviewed enthusiastically in the Melody Maker by its editor, Edgar Jackson. Secondly, many of the American contingent working in England, not least those playing with Fred Elizalde’s band at the Savoy Hotel, were Bixophiles, and infected others with their enthusiasm. One of the most riveting facts contained in the 36-page booklet by Nick Dellow & Mark Berresford, is that on his scouting trip to the States in early 1929 Rollini was hoping to lure Bix back to England with him! Sylvester Ahola, who had played alongside Bix in Adrian Rollini’s short-lived Club New Yorker band, to their mutual benefit, contributed many magnificent solos to British dance band recordings, as also did Norman Payne (who probably came closest to capturing Bix’s ethereal quality) and Jack Jackson, but there are many other examples here to savour.

This is a magnificent set which has been a considerable time in the making, and the care that’s been taken shows in every aspect. The two booklets contain many new photographs, and the second includes a complete discography. Many of the original recordings are extremely rare, few have been reissued on CD, and those that have are not easy to come by. The set contains four unissued test pressings, including the hitherto unknown “I’m Glad” by Fred Elizalde. Great care has been taken to track down clean copies, and the remastering is a hallmark of clarity.

Finally, this truly has been a labour of love because all profits from the sale of this set of CDs will go towards helping to meet the ongoing medical expenses of musician and author Richard Sudhalter. It is priced at £15 including p&p, and can be ordered from Jass Masters, 71 Chalk Hill, Watford, Herts WD19 4DA, UK, or by phone to +44-1923-237910 or fax to +44-1923-211510, or email to nick.dellow@gmail.com Payment can be made by PayPal, using the same email address.

I visited Richard Sudhalter yesterday and presented him with a copy of the CD set. He has a hard time communicating, but I gather he was very pleased. While we played the first volume of the set, Richard was reading the booklet.

Richard loves to hear news of what is going on in the Bix front. I mentioned to Richard the plans for the Bix wing in the Putnam Museum and the recently released CD by Dick Hyman "Thinking About Bix." Coincidences will never cease. While we were listening to music, mail was delivered to Richard. Guess what? There was mail from Dick Hyman accompanying a complimentary copy of the "Thinking About Bix" CD!!


A reminder.

There will be a Benefit Concert for Richard Sudhalter on Friday, Sep
5, 2008 at 6:30 PM in the Paumanak Vineyards, 1074 Main Road,
Aquebogue, NY 11931.

The Tribute will feature Marty Grosz and the Destiny's Tots: Scott
Robinson (bass sax), Dan Block (clarinet) and Jon-Erik Kellso (trumpet).

Aquebogue is located on the north shore of Eastern Long Island, about
80 miles from Manhattan. For reservations, call (631)722-8800.

I am sure you all know that Richard is a distinguished author,
musician, and jazz historian. He was artistic director of "Sunset at
the Vineyard."

Richard currently resides at the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home in
Manhattan, where he is treated for multiple system atrophy. All
profits from the concert will go to helping Richard with his medical


This message has been edited by ahaim on Aug 25, 2008 7:37 AM

Posted on Aug 22, 2008, 8:29 AM

Respond to this message

Goto Forum Home