... as long as we remember that Challis and Secrest did the best job they could, under difficult circumstances for both of them. Personally, I'm not too wild about the first two minutes of the record either. But I do like the record very much from the moment the second chorus closes. I think Secrest's solo is pretty good, and I especially like the notion of Bill Challis trying something totally new.
That said, I think that Bix would have done something truly exceptional in that solo space, making anyone totally forget those first two minutes of "exposition" in a flash. As with "Sweet Sue", the whole arrangement is a build-up to Bix's solo.