Andy Secrest with Bing Crosby in 1937: Nobody's Imitator

by David Tenner

I have been listening to a few Andy Secrest solos with Bing Crosby in 1937:

From July 17, 1937: "Smarty" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jWU236_EOU

From September 20, 1937: "Remember Me?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5gq_nso9V0

From September 25, 1937 (with Connie Boswell in duet with Crosby):

"Basin Street Blues" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhea3oL9JQs

"Bob White" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQUagfWetZM

What these show pretty conclusively to me is that by 1937 Secrest was his own man, a far cry from the Bix soundalike of the Whiteman years. Yes, there is still some Bix (and perhaps Red Nichhols) influence in some of them, but nowhere does Secrest sound like a mere imitator, and in Basin Street Blues, there is little Bix influence--if anything it is closer to Armstrong.

Unfortunately, Secrest's reputation as a Bix imitator is probably unalterable--but, especially if one looks at his post-Whiteman career, it is unfair to a player of considerable talent.

Posted on Mar 12, 2017, 1:58 AM

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