The drummer in Mole's "One Step to Heaven" ....

by Albert Haim

.... is Gene Krupa, according to Rust. I agree.

The drummer in Trumbauer's "What Wouldn't I Do For That Man" is George Marsh according to Evans and Kiner. Marsh does not sound to me at all like the drummer in the Sep 20, 21 and Oct 5, 1928 sessions, except for an occasional cymbal crash which was not that uncommon in the time period of interest. Moreover, as discussed in detail in
http://bixography.com/bixdrummers.html
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.
On April 25, 1928, McDonald was replaced by George Marsh in Whiteman
s orchestra. From the time that Marsh joined Whiteman until September 1929 –a period during which Marsh was the only drummer in the Whiteman orchestra- the Frank Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang bands made a total of 32 recordings. These recordings can be divided into two groups. The first 23 –made between July 5, 1928 and April 30, 1929- did not include Marsh. The next 9 –recorded between May 15, 1929 and September 8, 1929, all with the Frank Trumbauer Orchestra- included Marsh. During the rest of 1929 Trumbauer and his orchestra made 11 additional recordings, all with George Marsh. Examination of this data shows that Marsh never recorded with Bix and His Gang nor with Trumbauer’s orchestra while Bix was a member of the Trumbauer band. This represents an anomaly. Ordinarily, a band within a band used musicians from the bigger band. In fact, the Frank Trumbauer orchestra and Bix bands used, with the exception of the drummers, exclusively Whiteman instrumentalists in their recordings.
Marsh never recorded with Bix and His Gang or with Frank Trumbauer’s orchestra while Bix was part of the Trumbauer orchestra. However, once Bix stopped recording with Trumbauer’s orchestra (April 30, 1929, last recording session of Bix with Tram), Trumbauer used George Marsh as his drummer -beginning on May 15, 1929 and continuing throughout 1929 (and also 1930) - in every recording session.
Why was George Marsh then never used when Bix was present, but Marsh was readily accepted once Bix was gone? There may be an explanation by looking at the account provided by Bix’s brother Burnie of the July 7, 1928 session. The “argument as to who would play drums” could help understand the anomaly. I propose that Whiteman's musicians were summoned for the recording sessions of July 5 and 7, 1928 by Trumbauer and by Bix, respectively. I further propose that the drummer called for the recordings was Marsh. However, on July 5, 1928, Bix's old buddy Harry Gale dropped by the studio unexpectedly. Seeing his long time friend for the first time in nearly a year, Bix was thrilled with the prospect of Harry playing drums and asked him to do so. Perhaps, George Marsh, realizing the strong friendship between Harry and Bix, bowed out as described by Sudhalter in the Mosaic liners, "amicably agreeing not to participate." For the next session on July 7, Marsh comes into the studio with the other Whiteman musicians ready to record with Bix and His Gang. However, Bix had also invited his buddy Harry Gale. There are two drummers in the studio. At this point Marsh is not willing to yield the drum chair to Gale. After all, he was being paid the handsome sum of about $50 every time he recorded outside of the Whiteman band. An argument ensues –Bix’s brother Burnie is a witness- as to who would play drums. Bix is rather adamant and prevails. George Marsh leaves disgusted, perhaps pledging not to record with Bix anymore. Alternatively, Bix could be the one who decided never to play with George Marsh in the small group recordings. Thus, all recordings of Trumbauer with Bix and of Bix and His Gang during the July 1928-April 1929 period do not include George Marsh as the drummer. However, once Bix stops recording with Trumbauer [the last recording session of Bix with Trumbauer’s band was on April 30, 1929], Marsh now returns and is the featured drummer in all remaining 1929 and 1930 Trumbauer recordings while Marsh and Tram are members of the Paul Whiteman orchestra. I readily admit that the assumption of a falling out between Bix and Marsh is speculative. However, in view of the fact that George Marsh never recorded with Bix and His Gang and with Trumbauer’s band while Bix was present, and of Bix’s brother account that “There was somewhat of an argument as to who would play drums”, the hypothesis of a falling out between Bix and Marsh becomes rather reasonable and credible.

Anyway, you can listen to several of Trumbauer's recordings May 15, 1929 and September 8, 1929, all with Marsh, and he does not sound to me like the drummer in the Sep 20, 21 and Oct 5 sessions.

Not only Marsh was not used in the Bix and Tram recordings between July 1928 and April 1929, but at one point Trumbauer imported a non-Whiteman musician, Stan King, for the Mar 8, Apr 17 and Apr 30, 1929 sessions. Listen to a few of King's recordings with Bix and Tram.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzUqgJtvdVs Futuristic Rhythm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Nzh-G1Ry4 Baby Won't You Please Come Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNlHbZnZQc I Like That
King does not sound to me like the drummer in the Sep 20, 21 and Oct 5, 1928 sessions.

An important document in the next posting.

Albert

Posted on Aug 27, 2015, 7:39 AM

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