Between February 1927 and September 1929, while Bix and Tram were members of the Jean Goldkette, Adrian Rollini's New Yorkers, and Paul Whiteman orchestras, Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra and Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang recorded 61 sides (54 were issued). In all but 23 (20 issued) of these sides, the drummer was the Goldkette/New Yorkers or Whiteman man, as would be expected from the fact that the Trumbauer and Bix outfits were bands within the larger bands. In the 23 recordings made by Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra (with Bix) and by Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang beween July 1928 and April 1929, George Marsh, the Whiteman drummer at the time, was not a participant: mostly non-Whiteman musicians were used as drummers. However, from May 1929 to September 1929, Frank Trumbauer and his orchestra (without Bix) made 9 recordings, all with George Marsh as the drummer. In fact, throughout the rest of 1929 and in 1930 Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra made 19 additional recordings, again all with George Marsh.
In the present article, I provide documentation about the drummers playing in all the sessions for the period 1927-1929 and advance a hypothesis to account for the absence of George Marsh, the regular Whiteman drummer, in the recordings made from July 1928 to April 1929 by Bix and Tram while they were members of the Whiteman orchestra.
The hypothesis is summarized in the conclusion of the article,
Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra and Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang were bands within the Jean Goldkette and Paul Whiteman bands. As is customary in these instances, the musicians in the smaller bands were subsets of the musicians in the bigger bands. This generalization applies to the Trumbauer and Bix bands with one major exception. George Marsh, the drummer of the Paul Whiteman orchestra, was never used by Bix when he recorded as Bix and His Gang and by Trumbauer when he recorded as the Frank Trumbauer orchestra while Bix was a member of the orchestra. However, once Bix stopped recording with Tram, Marsh was the drummer in all Trumbauer recordings through 1930. This observation led me to suggest a falling-out between Bix and Marsh when Bix asked his long-time buddy Harry Gale to play with him in the July 1928 Chicago recording sessions of Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra and of Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang: ordinarily, Marsh, the regular drummer with Whiteman, would have been the drummer of choice.
If the analysis/hypothesis in my article is accepted, then the presence of George Marsh on drums in the May 15, 1929 session can be taken as evidence to support the absence of Bix in that session.
I admit freely that the argument is rather tenuous and indirect (and convoluted), but I believe it adds a little something to the evidence presented in the previous thread.
One final comment. Evans and Evans provide the following information about the May 15, 1929 session,
This is the first Trumbauer recording session without Bix, and the first recording for Columbia Records as a result of the May 19, 1928 contract.
[I add it is the first recording of Frank Trumbauer with George Marsh on drums since July 1928.]
The contract, signed by Frank Trumbauer and Tommy Rockwell of OKeh records on May 19, 1928, is described by Evans and Evans as follows, "calling for eight men on the OKeh label and eleven on the Columbia."
I must add, however, that I have seen several OKeh records, following the signing of the contract with eleven (or even more) men.