"Dusky Stevedore": Sound files from Steve.

by Albert Haim

First a link to the thread about this subject.


Next a brief recapitulation of previous analyses.

Rust: Bix plays the first sixteen bars of the melody a bar ahead of the rest of the band.

Sudhalter: In the first half of Bix's first chorus lead, his phrases lag a full bar behind those of the actual melody. He plays the opening phrase (corresponding to the words, "I'm Just a ..." in the lyric) not as a pick up to the first bar but within the bar, with everything else following suit. The bridge finds him back on course, returning to the "A" section and getting it right.

Castelli, Kaleveld and Pusateri: The first chorus lasts 33 bars because Bix loses tempo midway in the first eight bars playing  nine!

Steve, : I don't hear any melodic displacement or musical anomaly here. Nor any unusual bar counts.

Brad, Oct 14: Bix messed it up. He really did completely misread the lead line, exactly as Sudhalter describes.

Steve, Oct 17: Although my ears and my ability to count are sufficient for me to make a judgement in this case, I have now brought in my recording software to illustrate things further. I imported the Atticus version of "stevedore" and then two or three others from the period. Using the metronome and the bar lines, and a little time stretching, the different versions are lined up to make sure everything is running at the same speed. With the first beat of the first bar of each version on a bar line, I notice that all versions coincide perfectly. There are no extra bars or missing bars in the Tram version. The three pick up notes to the first bar played by Bix are before the first bar and not within it as Sudhalter claims. They are the right notes. As are the notes of the initial statement of the theme over the first three to for bars. These notes, played by Bix, sit nicely on top of the notes in the other versions. They are the same notes in the same position. Thereafter, Bix extemporises on the theme, something which takes place in other versions too. I hear no sign of melodic displacement. The B section is as written. The third A is indeed played correctly as Sudhalter says, and when you take it and put it over, or parallel with, if you prefer, the first A, they match completely, excepting the variation in the arrangement towards the end of the section, as I stated earlier. This could not happen if Bix was out by a single beat let alone a whole bar. Rust even claims that the sixteen bars are out. This is simply not the case.

Steve's comparisons, Oc 18.

File 1. Here, the Tram version is playing with the one by the Louisiana Rhythm Kings. I have compressed it to mp3. If you prefer wave I can do that. The only alteration I have made is to use a little time stretching on the Rhthm Kings to bring it in line.  I have put Bix on the left and the Kings on the right to make things more readable.  I have also left the metronome on.


File 2. This one is all Tram. The first A is on the left and playing with it on the right is the3rd A after the bridge. As you can hear they are really very similar. Bix plays exactly the same thing in both sections. It was here that I thought it a good idea to separate the channels because they were so close together, it sounded like one track.


File 3. I've recorded (not very well as I did it in a hurry, soprano sax) the theme as played by Bix.


File 4. Here with the lead displaced by 1 bar as described by Sudhalter.


Brad, Oct 19. So I pulled out the Tram OKeh of "Stevedore" and had a very close listen, tabula rasa. Never mind what Sudhalter wrote, or what I said before. First, let's agree that the first chorus is supposed to be a melody statement, to connect the listener to the song. Melody first, Jazz after, but something went amiss with Bix's reading of this melody.

Since we're talking about melody, and the melody is built to go with the lyrics, have a look at the lyrics. I divided them into two-bar phrases, with dashes to indicate quarter rests. The first line is a three beat pickup:

(He's just a)
Stevedore, down on the
Swanee shore - - -
Workin' and singin a
Song - - - / - His dusky

Brow is wet, he doesn't
Mind the sweat - - a
Scufflin' all the day
Long - - - /- - - -

Bix plays the three-note pickup correctly, but jumps into the rests after "Swanee shore," when he should have waited for "workin' and singin'." This throws him off. He (very creatively) backs and fills for the next eight bars. He's back on track for the bridge, with its straight half notes:

See his rag time
Shufflin' gait - - -
Ha ppy 'cause he's
Handlin' freight. The levee's

Then Bix is back at the "A". Once again, he gets the three-beat pickup and the next four bars correctly, but when he returns to the trouble spot (after "Stevedore") - he drops out altogether!

Heaven for the Dusky
Stevedore - - -
Workin' and singin' a

At the word "Song" Bix re-enters, and is fine for the rest of the record.

In the next posting I will present Randy Sandke's analysis which he kindly sent yesterday at my request.


This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 20, 2011 6:14 AM

Posted on Oct 20, 2011, 5:59 AM

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