More Evidence That Red Copied Bix's Solo in "Tiger Rag."

by Albert Haim

Here are extracts from various solos kindly prepared by Nick. Nick writes the following:

In the first eight bars of his solo, Bix follows a similar pattern to that played by the soloist (Dave Klein?) in the Ted Lewis recording of Tiger Rag. However, Bix starts off the next four bars with a run that is pure Bix improvising, while Klein sticks to the (probably) written routine and is totally different. So what do we hear when we compare this four bar extract from Bix's solo with the same four bars in Nichols' solo. What we find is that Nichols plays EXACTLY the same run as Bix's. Ergo, Nichols MUST have heard Bix's solo. Listen to

1. Bars 9-12 of the cornet solo in Ted Lewis' recording

2. Juxtaposed bars 9-12 of cornet solos in Wolverines version (Bix) and California Ramblers version (Red Nichols): first, Bix; next, Red.

There is still more evidence. In addition to his main solo, Bix plays, earlier on the Wolverines' version, a two-bar break that again is pure Bix. Red Nichols copies it note-for-note on the California Ramblers side. Listen to the juxtaposed breaks, first Bix, then Red.


Nichols reveals his schooled training by playing the notes of Bix's break cleanly, while Bix himself is more legato and fluid, aided by his unorthodox choice of valve combinations. It should be noted that there are NO two-bar breaks by the cornetist on the Ted Lewis version of Tiger Rag.

This is way beyond mere coincidence. There is little, if any, doubt that Red is copying runs and other phrases in Bix's solo and break in the Wolverines version when he plays his break and solo in the California Ramblers' version of Tiger Rag.



This message has been edited by ahaim on Feb 19, 2012 10:52 AM

Posted on Feb 19, 2012, 10:47 AM

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