James Ault about Bix.

by Albert Haim

James Ault was a riverboat musician [banjo, sax, trumpet] in the 1920s. He was interviewed in 1956 and mentioned, among others, Bix. The whole interview is fascinating if you are interested in the life of riverboat musicians. Here I transcribe only the sections about Bix.
"Speaking of trumpet, this don't pertain to river especially, although he probably had some of it in his early days, he was from Davenport, Iowa, was Beiderbecke. He was around here in 1924 and a little bit of 1925; he worked a couple of spots around Cincinnati, but he didnt t do any work on the river around here. I do think he did on the Mississippi in his early days before he came over this way, when he was working around Indiana and this part of Ohio. He worked arund here about a year or year and a half in different spots before he went up to Detroit and
joined the Goldkette band. Of course from the Goldkette Band he
joined the Whiteman Band and that Is about as much as I can remember of him. Still have some of those old records of his.
Q: They are probably collectors items now?
A: Some of them may be."
"There are some good potential musicians here in town [Cincinnati] right now. There is one trombone player I know, He is doing some selling. He for my money is one of the top ten in the countxy* He could go out with various current name bands like Jerry Anthony. But what it would cost him to make those trips plus trying to keep his home up here with his family, you just don't make it. If he made two hundred bucks a week, he still couldn't cwne out. So he's sitting making far less and picking up what scraps of jobs he can. Another trombone player, in fact he used to be on one of those old Bix Beiderbecke records, he is working over at Beverly Hills, and Bill Rank he is one of the good top
men in the country. There are some good trumpet players around town, same god sax men, a lot of good talent here in town. But rather than go out and beat their brains out on the road now, they are just sitting here and doing something else.
Q: Wonder if this fellow Rank is in Mississippi now?
A: No, I tell you his connection, haw he happened to make records
with Beiderbecke. Rank was playing trombone with Whiteman and when Beiderbecke joined Whiteman, all the time he was with Whiteman, I should say, even when when he was making records under his own name, he was usually using men out of the Whiteman band at that time. But when he made records in Chicago before he went with Whiteman, then it was fellows from around here or fellows from over around Indiana U or
fellows from Chicago. The men on some of those records used to vary a little bit although the name was always the same. But got so there when he was making records in New York and the time he was with Whiteman, most all the time it was Rank on trombone, Bill Rank. Usually Trumbauer on saxophone and usually the pianist out of the Whiteman band, and bass. George Wettling, the drummer used to always be on those records. So there was a time about like then. Rank plays very good to this day. Plays real good. "

Fascinating recollections although Mr. Ault was confused about Wettling. A link to useful info and sound files about Wetttling and a photo signed over to Paul (Whiteman?).

George Wettling in Bixieland Favorites:


Posted on Apr 3, 2017, 7:31 AM

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