In an email message dated Aug 3, 2009, Mr. Phil Schaap (WKCR and Jazz at Lincoln Center) describes in detail the circumstances surrounding the statement by Mr. D. Russell Connor, In 1986, a New York radio station played the sides, telephoned Benny to ask if they included Bix. He replied that he thought they did. The New York radio station was Columbia University's WKCR and the programmer was Phil Schaap. Here is the complete email message from Phil. I am grateful to him for the detailed account and for giving me permsission to post his message.
Youll forgive me not using the postings available on the Internet.
I want to document my two (actually three, two on one day and a third years later) phone conversations with Benny Goodman during which he both times identified Bix Beiderbecke as a featured musician on the Irving Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang session of June 6, 1930. Each of these phone calls were initiated by Benny Goodman and were received by myself at radio Station WKCR, the two pertinent ones very shortly after I had played the session on the air.
PHONE CALL NUMBER ONE (actually calls one & two)
The flipping of Memorial Day from the fixed date of May 30th, Benny Goodmans birthday, to the fourth Monday in May (1971) changed the course of WKCRs Benny Goodman birthday programming to a more generic Memorial Day Weekend Big Band extravaganza that finally intersected with the actual Goodman birthday in 1976. I believe it was that year it could have been a Memorial day Weekend later in the 1970s and, whatever the year, quite possibly on the actual birthday - when Benny Goodman called the station to state that he was enjoying the broadcast. Goodman was quite clear that he didnt wish to be interviewed, he just wished to express his thanks for our broadcast. I was very surprised that Goodman had bothered to call and highly appreciative that he had. On that very day and broadcast, and not too long after Goodmans call, I played the June 6, 1930 Irving Mills and his Hotsy Totsy gang session. Goodman called again! He stated that he had heard my account of whether Bix plays on the records and went on to state that he had no recollection of the recording date, but by ear recognized himself and Bix Beiderbecke. Benny, again thanked myself and the station, and quickly got off the phone as I was seriously lobbying to put him on the air right then and there. In wrapping up this recollection of an over 30 year ago phone encounter, I must state that there is some possibility that this episode occurred on a non-Holiday weekend when I was featuring Benny Goodman on WKCRs Sunday show Jazz Profiles. In other words, Im saying that I have a stronger recollection of it being on a Sunday afternoon than it being the Sunday afternoon of the Memorial Day Weekend or specifically May 30, 1976.
PHONE CALL NUMBER TWO (actually call three)
From Tuesday August 20th through Sunday August 25th in 1985, WKCR broadcast its Jack Teagarden Festival. This was an around the clock broadcast. The main feature was the chronological airing of all Jack Teagardens recordings, a function that probably started on the broadcasts second day. Whether it was 8/20 or 8/21, or any weekday of the festival, I, at some point, played the June 6, 1930 session with a concise unusual for me statement that some challenged Beiderbeckes presence but that Teagarden felt Bix played on this session. Soon after the tracks were played, Benny Goodman spoke with me, again, by phone while I was broadcasting at the station. He was by his pool in Connecticut and listening! Goodman had no real recollection of the date and had no memory of our previously discussing the matter nearly ten years earlier. But his ears once again told him that Bix Beiderbecke was on the session. He, again, verified his own presence and further stated how great Jack Teagarden sounded on it and the other recordings that were being broadcast.
WRAPPIN IT UP Russ Connors reviewed the question of Bixs presence on the Irving Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang with Benny Goodman around 1986. Russ confronted Goodman with Russ understanding that Benny had told a radio announcer I assumed this meant me that Bix does play on the June 6, 1930 recordings. Goodman has been quoted as stating What difference does it make, now? or Hell, whats the difference, now?.
I called Russ Connor today (August 3, 2009) and we talked over these matters. Russ confirmed that I am the radio programmer that he is referring to in Wrappin It Up and further stated that he is aware that I spoke to Goodman about Bixs presence on the June 6, 1930 recordings more than once. I believe that Russ Connor accepts that Goodman initiated these conversations, and that with me, Benny was consistent about his identifying Bixs presence on the Irving Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang session. I informed Russ that I was calling him as a courtesy as I was going to speak to the recent flurries of communications on the Internet about the matter, including on the Bixography Forum website, and in print.
Russ Connor is a patriarch of Discography and I take no pleasure in bringing any of this up. Russ firmly believes that Bix is not on the session. Russ documents musicians - in a position to know - stating that its not Bix on June 6, 1930 and presents a case that Goodman, at times, also felt that it wasnt Bix. Certainly, I can provide firm first hand data for Russ Connors its not Bix viewpoint because Gene Krupa stated to me in a rare moment of sternness and, even, reprimand - that it is not Bix on this session.
The debate will undoubtedly continue. What is not in doubt (even with Russ Connor) is that I was contacted twice by Benny Goodman, events that were years apart, and both times Benny Goodman volunteered his endorsement of Bix Beideberbeckes presence on the June 6, 1930 recordings of Loved One, in two takes; Deep Harlem; and Strut Miss Lizzie made by Irving Mills Hotsy Totsy Gang. For what its worth: I have no doubt that those two times Benny Goodman was right.
PS from ps: Russ Connor doesnt have e-mail, so hes not copied. But, again, I went over this by phone with him less than 90 minutes ago.