A vehicle for Bixophiles and other interested individuals to ask questions, make comments and exchange information about Bix Beiderbecke and related subjects.
Any views expressed in the Bixography Forum represent solely the opinions of those expressing them and are not necessarily endorsed or opposed by Albert Haim unless he has signed the message.
The attached review of the British Brunswick reissue of Bix and His Rhythm Jugglers' "Davenport Blues" was published in the April 1936 edition of "Swing Music" magazine.
The final paragraph explains why the British Brunswick of "Davenport Blues" was issued on Br 02206 while "Toddlin' Blues" was issued on Br 02501.
Bearing in mind that the reissue was a dub, one might have assumed that the original 78 would have been processed in London. However, perhaps at this date there were no decent copies of the Gennett available in the UK and so the dubbing and subsequent processing had to be carried out in the USA.
The derision of Red Nichols in the review demonstrates that even at this early date he was already something of a musical pariah, constantly judged against Bix, unfairly so in my view.
The critic was John Goldman. His review of Davenport Blues was part of a more extensive review of Brunswick's "Classic Swing" series of reissues, which included The Wolverines, The Sioux City Six and King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.
Goldman seems to have adopted a rather intransigent position as a reviewer, witness the following remark that appeared on the previous page of the magazine (which contained Goldman's review of six Wolverine Orchestra recordings):-
"Editor's Note: This review was written before we received the article on Bix by Vic Moore (published in the March issue). When I told John Goldman that Mr. Moore had said that it was Jimmy McPartland and not Bix that played in "Royal Garden Blues," he refused to believe it. In spite of the fact that Vic Moore's statement appeared to be unassailably accurate, Goldman maintained that the cornet playing in this record was the very essence of Bix and could not be McPartland."
One does not need to read too far between the lines to detect the annoyance of the editor of Swing Music magazine, Leonard Hibbs, at Goldman's somewhat stubbornly opinionated stance!
"Limehouse Blues" , 5-24-1928 , Chicago IL , Vocalion 15708
as extraneous sound, in a few spots during the first 40 seconds or so.
Sometimes the choice of playing stylus can introduce extraneous noise not present in the original recording, I understand generally from reading a little on this subject. Maybe that is entirely what I hear in this "Limehouse." But I'm curious about others' aural interpretation here.
The first two seconds of this 'Limehouse' are silent recording, with the band starting play around the 2 second point. During these couple silent seconds, does anyone else hear a higher (female?) voice exclaim something like "You ain't finished talkin' to me here..."... and as band hits it's into notes, a deeper (male?) voice further back within the sound shouts something in response to the initial voice? The sound of the initial voice flickers again, seconds 7 to 9, and seconds 13 to 15, maybe.
Does anyone else hear anything like this in this audio file? Argument in the control room, 1928, maybe? Or all my imagination - Fred's variations on extraneous surface noise?
I hear it, too! And it's not on the Sager CD. It would be good to hear from Dave Sager about what he heard and what his thinking was about its source or about cutting it out of his restoration. I'm not saying he should have left it in there, as it very much sounds like a woman, and no woman was intended to be on that recording at the time. Those unintended snatches are intriguing, though, especially one that sounds like a disgruntled girlfriend who just won't stop talking, even when the red light comes on!
Of course, Sager's issue on this and the following recording "Dear Old Southland" was his belief that the clarinetist was Teschemacher on these, not Bercov as formerly postulated.
the voice/voices you are hearing are sounds produced when the owner of this record [or mp3] attempted to "fix" this track with a modern computer music program...and ruined it !!!
folks don't realize...the pure sound of a mint 78 played with the RIGHT needle does NOT need 2013 tampering by someone who doesn't know what they are doing !
there are a good handful of [small label] commercially made cds that came out with wonderful 1920s material that were also ruined by folks who tampered to much with the original music and made it sound like you were listening via Sputnik
Granted..there are some fine folks who do some minimum sound restoration with good taste...
hese folks that I've just spoken of do not have knowledge , taste or talent to mess with this...they are clueless !.
This what I wrote in my IAJRC Journal review of David Sager's "The Complete Wolverines."
Transfers of acoustic 78 rpm records present a challenge for the audio engineer. Doug Benson is a minimalist. His approach is to start with original 78s in the best possible condition and process them as little as possible so as to allow the listeners brain to ultimately sort out the music from the noise. I favor such a philosophy. I advocate transfers that utilize the minimum amount of processing. I want to hear every bit of sound that was embedded in the grooves created on the wax by the cutting needle. I dont like over-processed restorations that sound perfectly clean. I am not impressed with the artificial (I would call it metallic, cold) sound associated with a so-called perfect digital transfer that removes every click, every bit of noise and introduces sounds that were not engraved in the grooves of the original record.
I have a copy of the original 78 of Limehouse Blues. There are no voices anywhere on the record - not in the grooves before the music, during the music or after it. The voices heard on the redhotjazz transfer must have been added on, I presume by mistake. The other transfer you give a link to must be a copy of the redhotjazz file, and has been further "processed" (very badly!).
By the way, the intro and coda of this side remind me slightly of those hot Ben Pollack Victors from 1926/1927. Compare the intro on "Limehouse Blues" with that on "He's The Last Word" and the coda with "Waitin' For Katie", for instance. Not exactly the same of course, but a similar idea.
To be fair to John Goldman, it's clear from his review that he heard Bix's recording of "Davenport Blues" after he was already familiar with the Nichols versions and he regarded Bix's superior "artistry, balance, phrasing, emphasis and tone" as a revelation. In the writing about jazz in the late 1930's and early 1940's there's quite a lot of this judgmentalism, this quasi-prophetic pronouncements about who "is" and "isn't" a jazz musician, but one doesn't have to slam Red Nichols the way Goldman did to hear that Bix was considerably more imaginative. Bix doesn't come out on top on every tune both he and Nichols recorded (the July 1930 Nichols "China Boy" is both more dynamic than the Whiteman-Bix version and has strong solos by Nichols, Benny Goodman and especially Jack Teagarden that make it my all-time favorite record of the song) but he does on "Davenport Blues."
What I find odd about the post is Swing Music editor Leonard Hibbs using Vic Moore as a source to attack his own critic and regarding it as "unassailably accurate" that Jimmy McPartland, not Bix, played on the Wolverines' "Royal Garden Blues." Now we know not only that Bix DID play on "Royal Garden Blues," but Vic Moore didn't; it was from the Wolverines session on which Vic Berton sat in on drums!
I realized my mistake as soon as I looked up the redhotjazz.com link on one of the other posts on this thread and saw the label scan for "Royal Garden Blues" by the "Original Wolverines" -- a 1927 record on which no one has ever seriously doubted the participation of either Jimmy McPartland or Vic Moore.
"The final paragraph explains why the British Brunswick of "Davenport Blues" was issued on Br 02206 while "Toddlin' Blues" was issued on Br 02501.
Bearing in mind that the reissue was a dub, one might have assumed that the original 78 would have been processed in London. However, perhaps at this date there were no decent copies of the Gennett available in the UK and so the dubbing and subsequent processing had to be carried out in the USA."
These dubs were done at the Decca Chicago studios (prefix C), and are part of a group of dubs of Wolverines, NORK, O'Hare, Bix, Hitch, Bailey's Lucky 7 and Oliver Gennetts. Matrix numbers within range C-90360 (Copenhagen; dubbed 14 Oct 1935) - C-90486 (Tiger Rag; 27 Nov 1935). Possibly these dubs had been ordered by UK Brunswick.
At the same time Decca also recorded Jess Stacy (mxs 90445-47, the 15 Nov 35 piano solos of Bix tunes) and Meade Lux Lewis (90469; Honky Tonk Train Blues recorded 21 Nov 35) for release on UK Parlophone.
And there were a lot of custom recordings (clothing commercials, a.o.).
These details from Charles Garrod, "Decca Chicago Master Numbers", Joyce Record Club Publ."
Thanks for the interesting information, Han.
Even more information and scans of record labels from Han in
A puzzle. Rust's American Dance Band Disco gives Red Nichols, c; recorded Oct 5, 1925. However, Rust in the Jazz Disco writes, "The following personnel for Lou Gold's orchestra applies to the next seven sessions (Oct 5, 1925-Jan 7, 1926). Phil Hart, t." Does the horn player in Better Get Acquainted sound like Red to you? My guess would be Red. I listened to other recordings of Phil Hart with Lou Gold: for example, Sweet and Low Down (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rajzU28MW7Q) ; he does not sound like Red Nichols to me.
At the same session, Lou Gold recorded Let's Wander Away. Lou Gold recorded the same tune earlier, on Aug 11 1925 with Roy Johnston on trumpet, according to the Dance Band disco. I could not find the Oct 5 recording, but the Aug 11 recording is available on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpslpduKcDI It sounds like Roy Johnston to me.
I was asked to post the article(s) of Red with Lou Gold that were published in Shellac Stack. Luckily they are already scanned. (With the reorganization of the house my scanner is not hooked up and I do have to go online and reload the driver.)
Albert HaimSteve, I find it interesting that you were asked to post this. Earlier today, I had a post in the bixography forum where I discussed some of these recordings. - Better Get Acquainted. Oct 5, 1925. Sounded like Red to me in agreement with the article you posted.. - Sweet and Lowdown. Jan 7, 1926. Rust gives Phil Hart on trumpet. The article you cited gives both Red and Phil There are two solos in the recording. Who plays them? I did not think it was Red. What is your opinion? - Let's Wander Away. Aug 11, 1925. Rust gives Roy Johnston. The article you cited gives Red Nichols. Sounded like Roy Johnston to me. The youtube video also assigns it to Roy Johnston. What is your opinion?
Stephen HesterLet's Wander Away and Better Get Acquainted are from the same session. Red verified his presence on all the Lou Gold records listed here. Dad and Woody sent him (and several others) tapes of thousands of records to listen to and evaluate. I remember Red does solo on Keep Your Skirts Down, Mary Ann from the Sweet And Lowdown session. Unfortunately at the moment I can not pull the record to listen to it. I still haven't been able to uncrate any of dad's records. I do not have the shelves ready, yet. I really do not know where Rust got the personnels he listed for the "dance band" records. Dad had worked up several Lou Gold lps (with and without Red) to issue, but we never issued them.
Stephen HesterOur friend, Paul Burgess, published the articles in his Shellac Stack. He published...Red Nichols On Edison, Red Nichols with Sam Lanin, and Red Nichols with Lou Gold. Dad had sent him copies of ALL the session worksheets from the 20s. They both had planned on publishing the entire output of Red's activities of the 20s. The exact date of the Gold articles, at this time I do not know until I uncrate them.
Albert HaimThanks, Steve. There were two recordings of Let's Wander Away by Lou Gold. One on Oct 5, 1925 (the same day as Better Get Acquainted) and one on Aug 11, 1925. I only heard the Aug 11, 1925 recording, the one where Rust gives Roy Johnston. In my posting to the bixography forum, I give links to all three recordings under discussion.
Stephen HesterThe personnels on the "dance band" records are very subjective and I doubt they will ever be 100% complete or accurate. Even though Red, Woody, Dad and I want that for the Nichols book...I doubt too that will happen.
Stephen HesterI did just notice that dad did not (*) solos on the Pathe/Perfect session of Let's Wander Away. I wish I could get to the session worksheets and check it out...or even the records. I told both dad and Woody that I do plan on re-evaluated everything when I prepare the book.
Albert HaimThanks for pointing out the significance of the *. The fact that there is no * in the Aug 11, 1925 recording of "Let's Wander Away" means that Red did not play the solo. So now we agree in my assignment of soloists in two of the three recordings that I cited in my forum posting.
- Better Get Acquainted. Oct 5, 1925. Solo by Red. - Let's Wander Away. Aug 11, 1925. Red does not play the solo (no * in the listing). If we accept that Rust's roster is correct, the soloist is Roy Johnston, as I suggested..
That leaves Sweet and Low Down. I assigned the solo to Phil Hart. In the article, you give the horn players as Red and Phil Hart. Since there is a * in the listing, you assign the solo to Red. I assigned it to Phil Hart. I listened to the recording again. I am somewhat uncertain. It could be Red. Maybe other members of the group would express their opinions?
Pauline Rivelli wrote an article entitled "Bix at Lake Forest Academy" in Jazz, Vol 5, issue 3, 1966. She reproduced several pages from The Caxy, 1922. Here is one of them. It will be seen that Bix did not waste any time: by Oct 29, 1921,just over a month after arriving at LFA, he had organized a dance band.
- Here are Vince and the Nighthawks in action at about 7:30 pm.
When you see the band playing smoothly, effortlessly, you don't realize the enormous amount of preparation needed to bring the music to the audience. Here are Carol and Vince at about 5:45 pm on the stage.
They open boxes, bring out microphones, music stands, the Nighthawks bannners, all of Vince's huge instruments, etc. And this is the tip of the iceberg. Carol and Vince had to leave Brooklyn much earlier to drive the nearly 30 miles (rush hour!!) to Westbury with all the instruments, equipment, etc. And there is much more: preparing the arrangements, rehearsing, practicing, making sure that the ten musicians are notified, getting substitutes if some of the regulars can't make it, etc, etc. As a chemist I am used to chemical magic, but this is much more complicated: I will call it musical magic. Thanks to Vince and all the Nighthawks for the magic they create everytime they have a public appearance and bring incredible pleasure to their audiences. The music is from the 1920s or 1930s, but it is as fresh when played by Vince and the Nighthawks as when it was first played almost a century ago.
From Tulane University Theses and Dissertations Archive A Musical Analysis and History of Eddie 'Snoozer' Quinn, Pioneering Jazz Guitarist by Kathryn Damaris Hobgood, April 2013.
Mentions of Bix:
- What is known about Quinn is that for a brief period of time he performed with some of the biggest names in early jazzsuch as Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Paul Whiteman, and the Dorsey brothers.
- Adding to the problem of evaluating his legacy, solo recordings Quinn made for Victor Records were never released to the public and have been lost, as has a Columbia session with Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer.
- Quinn has been discussed briefly in biographies of other musicians such as Paul Whiteman, Bix Beiderbecke, and Frank Trumbauer, usually to mention his ancillary rolein the Whiteman Orchestra or to speculate about his presence on certain recordings.
- Tor Magnusson and Don Peak published discographical research in 1992 called The Recordings of Snoozer Quinn, Legendary Guitar Player. Written for The Jazz Archivist, the authors address Quinn's recording career, covering possible sessionswith Frank Trumbauer, Bix Beiderbecke, Bee Palmer, Bing Crosby, Tommy Weir, and Jimmie Davis, as well as the hospital session with Johnny Wiggs.
- Growing up, Eddie [Snoozy] played piano, violin, mandolin, guitar, and banjoas well as anything else from which he could coax a musical sound, including wind instruments. (According to his brother, He could take atrumpet and play Bix Biederbeckes [sic]chorus on I Cant Get Started so it sounded justlike Bix, but then his lip would give out halfway through. (NB. !!!!That was Bunny Berigan)
- According to Wiggs, Snoozer said: "I was with Peck a good while and I have played with a lot of other topnotch musicians. I can say that I got more pleasure out of hearing Peck play, more inspiration, than from any other musicians. Not that I havent gotten a terrific amount of pleasure from Louis, Bix and others, but Peck Kelley was the top.
- The significance of Quinns hiring by Whiteman cannot be overstated. Whiteman was perhaps the most famous and well-respected bandleader in American at this time. He had the distinction of commissioning George Gershwins jazz concerto Rhapsody in Blue which premiered in Aeolian Hall in New York in 1924, an event that is considered a defining moment of the Jazz Age. That Whiteman hired Quinn underscores Quinns immense talent. On Saturday, December 8, 1928, Quinn left Louisiana to join the Whiteman Orchestra in New York City. He received a wire from Mr. Whiteman on the Friday before, ordering him to report to New York Monday morning.to begin rehearsing at once for Victor records.(In fact, at this time Whiteman was working for Columbia records.) Reporting to friends back home, Quinn was well received upon his arrival in New York. Interestingly, a recording session may have occurred sometime between December 10 and 20 in which Quinn himself was the featured act. According to the Bogalusa Enterprise: Records reproducing the steady strumming of a guitar in the hands of Eddie Quinn, local boy who recently joined Paul Whitemans orchestra in New York City, will soon be on sale in Bogalusa. This is according to a letter Quinn has written to H.E. Rester, of the Rester Motor Company, stating five of his guitar selections have been reproduced on records since he arrived in New York City. Quinn says he is receiving treatment befitting a king by other members of Paul Whitemans orchestra, and that he is having the time of his life in Gotham. The details of this session are a mystery. Since it was not documented in the Columbia logs, it could have been an impromptu session organized by the musicians themselves. Such events were called wildcat recordings, in which the band members would record (sometimes for other labels) using pseudonyms since they were usually violating the terms of their contracts. This session could have been the one described by Quinn later to his friend Johnny Wiggs. According to Wiggs, Quinn told him that he had recorded some sides with Beiderbecke and Trumbauer: Beiderbecke, Trumbauer and the others decided that they must have a recording session without delay. Snoozer had been singing along in his peculiar sort of way, a humming accompaniment to his guitar playing somewhat in the fashion of the later-day Slam Stewart, and they wanted to put that on wax. Snoozers memory is not exact, but he believes thesession was arranged for Columbia. He recalls that four sides were made, including Singin the Blues.On each side he did a humming chorus,but he remembers none of the other titles. And he remembers only Bix and Trumbauer among the other musicians who took part. The records were never released. [NB. This could well be the recording session with Bee Palmer.]
- One of Quinns biggest fans was Bee Palmer. Palmer was a chorus girl in the Ziegfeld Follies who also had a notable solo career. Called the Shimmy Queen, and for a time associated with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Palmer was well-known for her sensual and naughty performances, her famous dance, and her unusual voice. She regularly hosted parties and jam sessions in her New York apartment. Wiggs told the story of a late night jam session at Palmers apartment where she was so impressed by Quinns abilities that she told the other musicians to stop playing, including Bix and Tram.
- Quinn appears on a Bee Palmer recording session that took place for Columbia on January 10, 1929.Songs recorded were Dont Leave Me Daddy and Singin the Blues. Other Whiteman personnel included Bill Rank, Irving Friedman, Frankie Trumbauer, Charles Strickfaden, Lennie Hayton, Min Leibrook, George Marsh, and BixBiederbecke.Though these sessions were never issued by Columbia, in recent years test pressings were discovered and have been released.
I've unfortunately been in public spaces where they've actually played things like this, and believe me that this isn't turning anyone on to the old bands at all, much less the great, high spirited Gene Kardos band. It's just morphing a soundbite or lick from the record and turning it into something to dance to while you're high on... something. The creators seem to be saying: "Oh, look how clever we are, turning something old and silly into something NEWWWWW!"
I say "EWWW".
Poor Gene Kardos; it's a good thing he never lived to experience this.
A very interesting interpretation of "Idolizing" by Ross Gorman's Orchestra.
Ross Gorman recorded "Idolizing" twice in November 1926, the first time on Nov 3 issued as Edison 51876- and again later in November issued as Cameo 1063 and Romeo 323. Here are the images of the record labels thanks to the generosity of Steve Hester.
These are not listed in Rust's or Mitchell's discographies.
Now I've always loved Goldkette's hit of "Idolizing" but I think DD 51876-R "Idolizing" performed by Ross Gorman And His Orch is the best recording of it that I've ever heard! Who were the personnel on this recording? It really has that New York sound I think it's called. I can't help but think of the young Dorseys, Miff Mole, Mezzrow and that lot.
Anyone have any other favorite recordings of "Idolizing"?
Eddie Lang's specialist Mike Peters gives
Ross Gorman and His Orchestra
ca November 1926
Cameo Record Co,., New York City
Orchestra including Eddie Lang, guitar.
2193 Idolizing - Cameo 1063 (solo - 32, break) Note: same arrangement as Nov 3, 1926 Ross Gorman Edison recording.
I find it somewhat sunusual. At times it sounds dated, at times state of the art in late 1926. The solos are quite advanced. The ensemble work seems in several instances from an earlier era. Eddie Lang on guitar. The clarinet solos are by Ross Gorman. Who is the trombonist? Miff Mole as "neophone" suggests? Opinions?
The Edison's by Gorman - actually ANY Gorman from the '26 / '27 period - are very interesting. For the most part what's listed in Rust for the personnel is almost completely at odds with what we're actually hearing on the records themselves -the cream of NY studio musicians, including Eddie Lang on guitar, and even Jimmy Dorsey (who can be heard on the Edison of "You're Burning Me Up (Turning Me Down)"; on the flip, "Hawaiian Rose", he imitated a Hawaiian guitar on his alto sax solo, and there are Eddie Lang guitar solos on both "...Burning" and "Hawaiian Rose").
However, having said that, the trombonist on the Edison of "Idolizing" is not Miff Mole; this trombonist has ideas that just aren't fluid, not at all in the way that Miff could interpret. Frankly, I haven't a clue!
I just learned about another of Goldkette's activities. From a 1928 issue of Radio Digest:
The capable and successful broadcast station of today is a four square institution with one face on a par with the o t h e r . It must have an a r t i s t i c f r o nt and a social f r o n t ; it must have a technically efficient front and a business front. With all four fronts well established it is a f o u r s q u a r e success, and W J R is a four s q u a r e station.
On the a r t i s t i c f r o n t stands Jean Goldkette, musical director of the station. Mr. Goldkette enjoys national fame for his genius both as a d i r e c t o r and concert pianist. His name heads a dozen orchestras playing in Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City. Goldkette orchestra Victor records are in big demand. I t would be hard to find a more able and talented person t o supervise the a r t i s t i c front of WJR.
Maybe I will take a look at the credits at the end of the video.
BIX: AIN'T NONE OF THEM PLAY LIKE HIM YET / Brigitte Berman [motion picture]
BIX: AIN'T NONE OF THEM PLAY LIKE HIM YET [motion picture]
Place of Publication/Creation
Information from: "Jazz on the Screen" by David Meeker. Used with permission.
Feature film (over 60 minutes).
Dramatised documentary charting the life and music of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, narrated by Richard Basehart, which took four years to make and eventually premiered in New York on 6th August 1981, exactly 50 years to the day of Bix's untimely death.
(recorded) "Jazz me blues" by Tom Delaney; "Royal Garden blues" by Clarence Williams, Spencer Williams; "Tiger rag" by Harry Da Costa, Edwin B. Edwards, Nick La Rocca, Tony Spargo, Larry Shields; "Cloudy", "In a mist", "Davenport blues" by Bix Beiderbecke; "I didn't know" by Williams, Jones; "My pretty girl" by Fulcher; "I'm coming Virginia" by Will Marion Cook, Donald Heywood; "Idolizing" by Sam Messenheimer, Abrahamson, West; "Clementine" by Henry Creamer, Harry Warren; "Singin' the blues" by Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, Con Conrad, J. Russell Robinson; "Riverboat shuffle" by Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Mills; "Krazy cat" by Chauncey Morehouse, Frank Trumbauer; "Sorry" by Howard Quicksell; "Changes" by Walter Donaldson; "From Monday on" by Bing Crosby, Harry Barris; "Sweet Sue" by Will J. Harris, Victor Young; "Coquette" by Gus Kahn, Carmen Lombardo, John Green; "Lonely melody" by Sam Coslow, Benny Meroff, Hal Dyson; "Gipsy" by Matty Malneck, Signorelli, Gilbert; "That's my weakness now" by Bud Green, Sam H. Stept; "China boy" by Dick Winfree, Phil Boutelje; "Waiting at the end of the road" by Irving Berlin; "I'll be a friend with pleasure" by Maceo Pinkard.
Personnel on Camera
Interviewees:- Mary Louise Shoemaker (Bix's sister), Hoagy Carmichael, Bill Challis (arranger), Esten Spurrier (cornet), Vera Korn (girlfriend), Mrs Bettendorf (school colleague), Fritz Putzier (school friend), Charlie Davis (pianist), Reagen Carey (sax player), James Regester (Indiana student), Spiegle Willcox (trombone player), Dave Wilborn (bjo player), Jess Stacy, Fred Bergin (pianist), Doc Cheatham, Matty Malneck (violinist), Al Rinker (vocalist), Izzy Friedman (clarinetist), Kurt Dieterle (violinist), Jack Fulton (trombone player), Roy Maier (sax player), Artie Shaw, Squirrel Ashcraft (pianist), Herb Weill (drummer), Al Duffy (violinist), Paul Mertz (pianist), with the voice of Louis Armstrong.
Background instrumentals: Richard Williams, cornet; Dill Jones, Earl French, piano.
A great photo of Wrixon's Capitol Harmony Kings. A generous gift from Bix aficionado ....
.... Frank Hagenbuch. Thanks very much, Frank.
On Jul 6, 1921, Bix joined the Doc Wrixon band aboard the Capitol steamship.
Doc Wrixon's band was billed as "Ten Capitol Harmony Syncopaters [sic]". Take a look at the ad for an excursion in the Jun 17, 1921 issue of the La Crosse Tribune and Leader-Press.
The band played for the Moonlight Dancing Trip. According to Sudhalter and Evans, "Bix: Man and Legend,", "the old stern-wheeler worked the river from Hannibal, Missouri, deep in Huck Finn country, all the way up to Winona, Minnesota, east of Rochester. Most of the trade was in 24-hour charter jobs." When the Capitol docked in Davenport on July 15, the musicians union officials had Bix removed from the band because he did not have a union card.
Albert " Doc " Wrixon and his band-(Steamer " Capitol ", Jun 1921)--Johnny Watson-(Tb)/ Bud Shepherd-(Pn) / Happy Conger-(Bj) / Omer Van Speybroeck-(Tnsx) / George Byron Webb-(Asx) / Vic Sells-(Cnt) /Grant Harris-(Cl) /Albert " Doc " Wrixon-(Lead-Drums).
Here is Frank's photo:
Several postings about Doc Wrixon's band in the forum.
This just in: Good News for Vince Giordano and his Nighthawks! Following the sad demise of their 5-year engagement at Sofia's next week, Vince and the gang with be starting right up again just a few short blocks away at Iguana Restaurant and Dance Lounge! Their opening night will be Monday, September 9th, and they will be in residence every Monday and Tuesday! Now, that IS good news! Thank you SO much, Iguana for letting the music continue.
I've signed the petition "BBC Radio 2: Reverse their decision to drop the Russell Davies Song Show Sunday 9pm" and need your help to get it off the ground. Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:
Although the Russell Davies Song Show could be seen as a 'niche' programme, I know it has a very loyal and devoted fan-base, both here in the UK and abroad. It is one of very few national radio programmes which features popular songs of the highest quality written with care for rhyme, style and sophistication of content in what might be called the Golden Age of Song, approximately1910-1970, and primarily in USA. It is sometimes called the Great American Songbook and individual songs are often referred to as standards. Russell Davies is extemely knowledgeable and his programmes are consistently entertaining, informative and often amusing. He is erudite and his show stands out amongst what is becoming an increasingly anodyne and bland radio station. I can see no good reason for his show to be discontinued and ask the 'powers-that-be at Radio 2 to reconsider their short-sighted decision to drop it from their schedules.
Thank you, both to Barry and Prof. Albert, for this support. My Song Show on BBC Radio 2 from London has run nearly 600 editions without having to repeat itself, and although I have to operate a vocal-records-only rule, which cuts out some of the best of instrumental Bix, I have been able to include a lot of Bix/Bing/Whiteman material, Trumbauer recordings with vocals both acceptable and dire, plus the late Carmichael and Beiderbecke Orch. items, the Chicago Loopers, and so forth. And it has always been a pleasure to trace the continuing Bix influence, both in instrumental playing and the phrasing of vocalists, some of whom probably didn't realise they were using Bix cadences.
The writer Hilaire Belloc once said "It is the best of all trades to make songs, and the second best to sing them." The point of my radio show is to emphasise the truth of this (though as a musician, I would say "sing and/or play them"). Anybody who has similar feelings would be doing music a favor by responding to Barry's request -- which incidentally is his own initiative, not mine. But I do thank him for taking this trouble.
Bix, Jack Webb, and Pete Kelly's Blues. Jack Webb is a well-known television and film actor, producer, and director. He was a jazz enthusiast. According to Charlotte Younger, Jack Webb had a collection of 6000 jazz albums and practiced the cornet for hours. Jack Webb "wanted to produce and direct a motion picture on the life of Jazz Immortal Bix Beiderbecke." (Time Magazine, March 15, 1954) He never did, but he directed, produced, and starred in the 1955 motion picture "Pete Kelly's Blues" which takes place during the 1920's. In the film, Jack Webb plays Pete Kelly, a cornet player and band leader of "Pete Kelly's and His Big Seven" (really, Matty Matlock Dixielanders). Early in the film, there is a reference to Bix. Edmond O'Brien plays a mobster who is trying to muscle in and take over the band. The musicians in the band decide to resist O'Brien efforts, except for Lee Marvin, who plays Al Gannaway, a clarinetist, and chooses to quit the band. At that point, the following conversation between Al and Pete ensues. Pete: "Where do you think you'll go?" Al: "East, maybe; thought I might try to catch up with a big outfit, Goldkette, somebody like that." Pete: "Paid up, got train fare?" Al: "I'll catch a bus out of St. Louis. I ought to be used to it by now. I bet I spent half my life in bus stations. Ain't that the dangest thing? Sure wish you'd go along, Pete. You'd do good with someone like Goldkette." Pete: "Who's playing horn there?" Al: "Bix, I guess." Pete: "I'm safer here, Al." As an aside, there is an interesting question about the participation of Joe Venuti in the film. According to the film credits, the band "features the talents" of Dick Cathcart (cornet), Moe Schneider (trombone), George Van Eps (guitar), Ray Sherman (piano), Matty Matlock (clarinet), Eddie Miller (saxophone), Nick Fatool (drums), and Jud De Naut (string bass). According to The Guide to Jazz in Film Bibliography, Joe Venuti also plays in the Big Seven band. This is in error. The band consists of the eight musicians listed above and does not include Joe Venuti. However, I found a mention of Joe Venuti in the entry for the film in the Cinemania 97 CD. According to the information provided, Joe Venuti is an uncredited member of the Tuxedo Band. The problem left is the identification of the Tuxedo Band. As far as I can tell, there are three distinct bands in the film. 1. Pete Kelly and His Big Seven. 2. A band of black musicians who play at a funeral at the beginning of the movie. 3. A small combo of black musicians accompanying Ella Fitzgerald. None of these groups includes Joe Venuti. Can anybody shed some light on this puzzle? Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org Addendum 9/8/99: The Library of Congress has a website entitled "The Guide to Jazz in Film Bibliography" at http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/mopic/jazz/o-r.html In the review of "Pete Kelly's Blues", it is stated that the film "includes two numbers by Ella Fitzgerald, backed by Don Abney, Larry Bunker and Joe Mondragon. Also features Perry Bodkin, Teddy Buckner, Dick Cathcart, Nick Fatool, Harper Goff, Thomas Jefferson, Matty Matlock, Eddie Miller, Jud de Naut, Moe Schneider, Ray Sherman, George Van Eps and Joe Venuti performing "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Hardhearted Hannah," "He Needs Me," "I Never Knew," "Oh, Didn't He Ramble," "Pete Kelly's Blues," "Sing Me a Rainbow," "Somebody Loves Me" and "Sugar." I highlight Joe Venuti. This is the second mention of Joe Venuti being present in the soundtrack of the film. Clearly, Joe Venuti is not present in the video portion of the film. A violonist is never seen playing with the band. Could Venuti be in the soundtrack? Is it possible that the video tape does not contain all of the footage included in the film version? I am going to watch the movie again and will listen carefully in search of aural evidence of the great Joe Venuti's violin sound. I will report in due course. Addendum, 12/28/99: Steve Cooper ( a Red Nichols expert who, with his band The Dixie Patrol, recreates the sound of Red Nichol's 1950's Capitol recordings) writes: "I just saw an article about Pete Kelly's Blues on the internet. The Tuxedo Band was in the TV Series of Pete Kelly's Blues, not the film. However, on the TV soundtrack album, there is NO violin in the 4 Tuxedo Band tunes. So I guess Joe Venuti was not associated in the movie at all." He adds on 12/29/99: "I've noticed lots of filmographies have erroneous information, so this is just "par for the course." Addendum, 11/26/02: Ray Sherman writes on 25 Nov 2002, "The Tuxedo Band is the "society band" at the rich girl's party towards the middle of the picture. Venuti could be on the sound track for that scene."
Just as a matter of interest, I own the Martin Committee Trumpet that Dick Cathcart used for most of his playing and, in all probability, is the same instrument played on the Film soundtrack ! Dick also made a very good LP entitled Bix MCMLIX on Warner Brother WS 1275 featuring 12 tracks associated with Bix.
Cathcart was also close friends with actor/producer Jack Webb, whom he met while they both served in World War II. He later provided the music on Webb's radio and television series Dragnet, and made his acting debut in the movie version as well. He also appeared in Webb's other film Pete Kelly's Blues in which he played a cornet player.
Here is a recording of "Goose Pimples" fromHe joined the Welk orchestra in 1962 as a trumpet player, and also sang with the Curt Ramsey Quintet as well. In 1964, he married Peggy Lennon of the Lennon Sisters, and would have six children along with the three he had from his first marriage.
After leaving Welk, Cathcart continued performing with several other Dixieland Jazz bands until his death from cancer in 1993, aged 69.
Here is a recording of Goose Pimples by from Pete Kelly's Blues radio show (9/19/51).
Bix MCMLIX. Warner Brothers W 1275. The album contains a number of songs identified with Bix played by Dick Cathcart on trumpet with orchestral arrangements and direction by Warren Barker. Some of the songs, which were recorded in December of 1959, are Jazz Me Blues, In A Mist, At the Jazz Band Ball, Singin' the Blues and I'm Coming Virginia.
-- a friend from Kentucky was in town visiting, and accompanied me and my husband Rick to Jerry's Used Records in Pittsburgh-- so of course we were digging as much through the jazz -- and 78's -- as the opera/classical. That was the first homage to Bix (I'm sure Bix must have enjoyed browsing record shops in his day, and those were the times when a customer could listen to selections of a 78 before buying -- Jerry and Willie allow the same thing for their records they sell: try 'em out before buying, whether it's a 78 -- not on old Victrola, alas -- or an LP.) I wanted desperately to find another copy that Metropolitan Jazz Octet LP for John, but I'll dub my own record onto cd so he can have a copy of that fabulous version of Bix's In The Dark.
We played Bix selections today after going to lunch and returning back to the house, and since John just left for the 7 hour drive back to Louisville, I got online to listen again to Bix favorites on YouTube -- the Okeh Blue River with its 1920's photo accompanyments of people swimming and boating; the 1924 version of Riverboat Shuffle, and Bix's Ostrich walk, and then the Josh Duffee Trumbauer Band performing Ostrich Walk with Andy Schumm doing a splendid, admirable turn -- really marvelous at capturing that Bix sound, and not as an imitation, but the perfect essence.
Glad those of you who went to the Fest had a good time, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it!
People come with varied gifts--some of us with some good ones, some of us with a few, small ones. Bix came into this world blessed with one great gift, and whatever else he did, he was faithful to that one. He never knew it, but by doing so he also has given great joy to many, many people since.
We got to share that joy together last weekend. Thank you, Bix.
"Well done, good and faithful servant," says it all.
I'd say the festival was a great success. The crowds seemed to be larger and I KNOW the music was great as were the seminars...especially the "scoop" Albert shared with us about Bix's girlfriend and his finding Bix's piano. I'll leave it Albert to report about that and what he thought about the festival as I'm no doubt bias. Here's a link to one article in the QC Times newspaper. I don't know how the reporter thought I'd replaced my Dad on the BBMS board (that's the only error in the article). My Dad was never on the board, but of course I have been for several years now.
Many thanks to all who attended this year! During the festival, I personally enjoyed spending time with actor and singer Johnny Crawford, best known for his role as Mark McCain in the old "Rifleman" TV show of the late 50's and early 60's. He's blessed with a keen sense of humor and a very pleasant singing voice. Johnny performed with Josh Duffee's band and pianist John Weber during the festival.
- Four fantastic bands (in alphabetical order) * Josh Duffees Graystone Monarchs * Dan Levinsons Roof Garden Jass Band * Randy Sandke's New York All-Stars * Andy Schumm & His Flatland Gang
- The Bix Lives Award presented to Gerri Bowers, Bix historian, co-author with Rich Johnson of "Bix, The Davenport Album," member of the Bix Society and the Bix Museum Boards, my contact in Davenport who took care of receiving Bix's piano and taking care of it while in Davenport. Highly deserved. Congratulations, Gerri!
- My lecture about Bix, Alice and Bix's piano.
- My giving Bix's piano as a permanent loan to the Bix Museum.
- The playing of "In the Dark" by Mark Shane on Bix's piano.
- The overall atmosphere during the festival, with hundreds of devoted Bix fans taking on the sights, the music and the magic of Davenport.
To the organizers of the Festival: well done, guys!
Someone (I forget who, sorry!) made a very important suggestion: Bix's piano should be brought out during the Bix Festival every year, placed on exhibit, and one pianist would be assigned to play Bix's piano compositions. It should become part of the special events. I suggest a similar commemoration about Bix's cornet. It should become an integral part of the festival (not an event on Th afternoon) with one cornet player playing several of the most important Bix's recordings. The playing of Bix's cornet and piano could be one of the highlights of the festival, perhaps a one-hour event on Saturday evening in the Adler Theatre with no competing events.
Thanks to Jim Petersen for his thoughtful (and generous) presentation of a plaque about Bix's piano. (See below)
I must say that I am surprised that, except for my lecture on Friday morning, there was no official mention (as far as I can remember) of my permanent loan of Bix's piano or of Jim's gracious gift of the plaque to the Bix Museum and Archives...
I was fortunate enough to be attending the performance in the Adler when Mark Shane played an unscheduled "In the Dark." Needless to say, it was a uniquely moving experience. Bix may well have played that piece when trying out his purchase, and it was a moment in history to hear it played, perhaps for the first time since then.
Quite a few people reported making an impromptu visit to the Adler to see, touch, or even strike a few notes as the piano sat in the middle of the stage in the darkened theatre. Your part in bringing it there was well known, but I agree that there would have been quite a crowd had the Society scheduled a special session, perhaps with pianists from all the bands (all of which were quite proficient) taking a turn at one of Bix's recorded piano performances (even "Big Boy" and the Bix, Tram and Eddie sessions) and his solo compositions. Pianos need to be played, and I am sure that Bix would have preferred his piano be used in performance rather than merely a permanently roped-off museum piece.
Your suggestion to make the piano the centerpiece of an annual scheduled performance is an excellent one. I also like the idea of the Bix cornet being used at the same time in a concert of Bix's music, and I believe it would be an attraction that would fill that huge balcony in the Adler! Such an event would be an effective way to generate media and public interest in the Beiderbecke Festival. I can imagine a segment on NPR already, not to mention a wonderful video clip for other media!
Josh Duffee, how about scheduling it at the top of your list of events for next year?
.... a man of multiple talents, among them he is the foremost Jean Goldkette specialist, stated, in a matter-of-fact manner, that the controversial "Birmingham Bertha" was recorded by the Jean Goldkette orchestra. Indeed, all the facts that Nick and I reported in our two-part article and the aural evidence provide definitive proof that "Birmingham Bertha" was not recorded by McKinney's Cotton Pickers or a mixed Goldkette-McKinney's band but by an orchestra made up exclusively of Goldkette musicians.
Tomorrow at 9 am I will take the limousine to LaGuardia and then fly to Chicago; change planes in Chicago and fly to Moline, one of the Quad Cities. I have a car rental and will drive to the Beiderbecke Inn.
My lecture about Alice and Bix's piano will be on Friday morning at 11 am. Those of you who will attend the festival, please stop by and say hello.
While looking through some Chauncey Morehouse research of mine (gearing up for the Bix Festival here in Davenport!!), I ran across a note Chauncey had made about the Goldkette recording of "Adoration." Here is what Chauncey wrote as his note:
""Adoration," (non-released). Doc had a solo on this one almost all the way thru, but Paul Whiteman wouldn't let Victor release it. Too competitive.
I thought that was very interesting to read.
Hope to see lots of you in Davenport for the Bix Festival this upcoming weekend. It's going to be another great year of music in Bix's hometown!
Very interesting, Josh. According to the EDVR site, four takes of "Adoration" were made; 2 and 3 were destroyed; 1 and 4 were held. 1 was eventually released in the Sunbeam and Bix Restored sets. The Victor files show two cornets. Does anyone hear three horns (two trumpets and one cornet)? Could the sax solo in the released take have been played by George Williams and not by Doc Ryker?
The son of Lithuanian immigrants, who was born in the Dominican Republic when his mother went into labour en route to the United States, Albam grew up in New York City. He became interested in jazz on hearing Bix Beiderbecke and at sixteen dropped out of school to play for Dixieland trumpeter-leader Muggsy Spanier, but it was his membership in a group led by Georgie Auld that turned Albam's career around."
In April 1958. Manny Albam and His Jazz Greats recorded the LP album "Jazz New York." I has been reprinted on CD.
One of the tracks is "In A Mist." Through the generosity of Frank van Nus, here is an mp3 file.
Frank writes, "It has a very subdued mood (more so than many other interpretations), with a semi-improvised solo by Bobby Brookmeyer on valve trombone. After this, the band trails off into a fade-out (which seems to me rather unusual). Manny Albam said of it: "(...) Bix Beiderbecke's 'In A Mist' is a song I've wanted to do since the first time I heard it. I think it was while I was in high school - a record of Bix playing the piano. Here are the recording details: Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal, Art Farmer, tp; Jim Dahl, Tommy Mitchell, tb; Bob Brookmeyer, vtb; Gene Quill, clar; Frank Socolow, Al Cohn, ts; Pepper Adams, bar; Eddie Costa, vib; Milt Hinton, b; Osie Johnson, d."
Thanks very much, Frank. I appreciate all your contributions to the forum.
I was very impressed with this modern yet tasteful and compelling interpretation of Bix' "In a Mist". It is a highly creative and introspective interpretation, with some fine solo work which do not seem out of place at all with the composition itself. It just goes to show how far ahead of his time Bix really was!
Thanks to Frank, and to Albert, for sharing this. I was unaware of it until now! Tasty stuff indeed!
I just heard Manny Albam's "In a Mist" this morning and was so haunted by it I immediately went online and ordered the entire CD. (So much for people at record companies who complain that free downloads are killing CD sales; sometimes they DRIVE CD sales!) It's obvious from the opening ensemble featuring vibraphone and clarinet that Albam was influenced by the magnificent 1933 Red Norvo recording of "In a Mist," which combined Norvo on xylophone and Benny Goodman on bass clarinet (to my knowledge the only time Goodman recorded on the bigger, deeper version of his usual instrument). But that's an excellent model, and Albam's "In a Mist" goes on my short list of the very finest versions alongside Bix's own, Norvo's and Ralph Sutton's 1950 piano solo.
Nola. Mar 28, 1922. Stumbling, Apr 1922. Raggin' the Scale. May 23, 1923. Yes! We have No Bananas. May 23, 1923. I Want to Be Happy. Jul 31, 1924. Me and the Boy Friend. Sep 23, 1924. Vocal by Billy Jones. Stomp Off, Lets's Go. Sep 19, 1925. The Meanest Kind of Blues. Sep 19, 1925. T-N-T. Jan 28, 1926. Hello Blue Bird. Dec 6, 1926. Vocal by Lynch and the Kelly Sisters. A Lane in Spain. Apr 29, 1927. Vocal by Lynch and the Kelly Sisters. Just Like A Butterfly. Jun 2, 1927. Vocal by Franklyn Bauer. You Took Advantage of Me. Apr 27, 1928. Alexander's Ragtime Band. May 11, 1928. Vocal by Ed Smalle and Dick Robertson.
Wow! Not only was this another glitch-free program, it was utterly fascinating and a revelation. Previously the only Vincent Lopez recordings I'd heard were from the 1930's, when he played primarily "sweet" non-jazz dance music and occasionally let loose the young Betty Hutton for a vocal. (Of his two late-1930's film shorts, the one for Paramount includes a not-bad rendition of Larry Clinton's "The Dipsy-Doodle" which is credible as jazz, though hardly on the level of Ella Fitzgerald's with Chick Webb's band, but on the Warner Bros. short she demolishes Louis Armstrong's "Old Man Mose" and reaches the low point when she starts clucking like a chicken.)
What was really surprising about the Lopez recordings this early was how convincing his group was as a jazz band. Not only are there two songs here that Bix recorded ("A Lane in Spain" and "You Took Advantage of Me"), there are three that were recorded by Louis Armstrong ("T-N-T" and "The Meanest Kind of Blues" with Fletcher Henderson and "Stomp Off, Let's Go" with Erskine Tate), and while none of Lopez's trumpeters were at Armstrong's level, the overall sound of the band on these pieces is authentically jazzy and hot. THIS is the Vincent Lopez orchestra members of Henderson's band recalled giving them a run for their money at battles of the bands at Roseland, including the night Lopez creamed them with a new song, labeled "Oil Can" on the sheet music, that turned out to be the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' jazz standard "Milenburg Joys."
I'm a bit surprised at two typos: referring to "Lynch and the Kelly Sisters" (as you well know, it was Keller!) and adding an "e" to Franklyn Baur's last name. I'm also surprised that you weren't aware that "Yes! We Have No Bananas" was quite famously pieced together from other songs, including the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah" (the source of the first four notes) and "I Dreamed I Dwelt in Marble Halls," though the passage in this record quoting "O sole mio" wasn't part of the song and was probably a joking reference inserted by Lopez's arranger. But there's nothing as egregious here as a mistake in WBIX #212 I forgot to point out last month, which was that Frankie Marvin may have recorded with Bix but nothing they did together was actually released: the vocalist on Jean Goldkette's "Idolizing" and "I'd Rather Be the Girl in Your Arms" was Frank Bessinger. (A pity it WASN'T Marvin on the released versions: he was far more musical than the atrocious Bessinger, whose vocal on "Idolizing" is redeemed only by Eddie Lang's stunning guitar work under it!)
Otherwise, this was a marvelous program, showing off a side of Vincent Lopez's music I hadn't known about before and presenting some interesting records, including an obviously male voice singing "Me and the Boyfriend." This was a product of the music publishers of the time, who insisted that everyone who recorded a song had to keep the lyric exactly the same, which led to bizarre spectacles like the thoroughly heterosexual Bing Crosby singing "There Ain't No Sweet Man Worth the Salt of My Tears" on the marvelous Whiteman record with Bix and Tram. The only record here I really didn't like was "Hello, Bluebird," which I have on a 1920's 78 by Charles Kaley and on the soundtrack of Judy Garland's last film, "I Could Go On Singing." Judy turned it into a psychodrama; Kaley crooned it as a bit of mindless optimism; the Keller Sisters and Lynch with Lopez's band zipped through it WAY too fast and made it virtually meaningless.
Typos corrected (Kelly/Keller; Bauer/Baur). Thanks for pointing these out.
There was no egregious mistake. In fact, at the beginning of the show I clearly stated that although Frank Marvin recorded one number with Bix, the recording was not issued. Further, I did mention Frank Bessinger as the vocalist in the later (issued) recording of "I'd Rather Be the Girl in Your Arms."
Frank Bessinger of Bessinger and Wright/The Radio Franks, "atrocious?" He's one of the better early electric-era vocalists, in my opinion, but if you don't like his clear tenor sound, which faded in popularity only a few years later, then I guess one might not like him.
...for the heads up on Lopez. I ran to my collection of custom cds by good friend Warren Jacob of CA. About ten years ago he made up a disc from his great collection
of recordings. He sent me 25 up through May, 1930. Seven as you had on your show and
the rest I'll be playing this coming week on my "jimmiejazz" show, Thursday, the 8th,
Some of the sides will be:
Bluin' the Blues
Don't Wait Too Long
Paddlin' Madelin Home
Black Horse Stomp
Could I? I Certainly Could
( Gee,I hope it's okay to pitch my own radio show.)
"Bix & Tram in the Whiteman Years" will be highlighted on this weekend's Jim Cullum's Riverwalk Jazz. It will be on our station's HD2 radio channel and livestreaming online at 5 p.m. Sunday, but times may vary in other markets.
It can be heard livestreaming online at www.Riverwalkjazz.org and also can be accessed on the same site's "Recent Radio Broadcasts" page for the next four weeks.
I think I have a decent understanding of how records were made both in the acoustic period and early electric period but I have not been able to find information about how "test pressings" were produced. Were they actually made from the matrix/master/metal stamper process used for all records but with only a handful produced or was there a more direct way of making a shellac disk immediately after recording? The latter would involve a different cutting machine separate from the one cutting the wax which would be used to make a master, one which would produce a playable disk immediately like the ones eventually common later in the 30s and were not really pressed? I have read several accounts of people (including Bix) leaving a recording session with a test pressing. If anyone could direct me to a publication or other source in which I could learn the process for making test pressings in late 1926 -1930 I would be extremely grateful.
In 1930 and long before, test pressings were made the same way as ordinary issued records: The wax was rushed to the factory, metal parts were made, and a few copies, with white labels, were punched out on the press. These discs usually were oversized (11" for a 10" master) and one-sided. They were sent around to the various departments of the company to check for possible problems with the recording, the pressing or the performance. When everyone signed off on that test, it was "passed" for issue.
N.b., I have just such a pressing from Aeolian Vocalion, (a 1923 Ben Selvin item), eleven inches wide, with a dangerously rough outer edge, on their trademark brick-colored shellac, with a beige label. The signatures of three Vocalion department heads fill blanks to "OK" each step of the vetting process.
At that time, there was absolutely no way a delicate wax master could be played back without ruining it. You HAD to wait a day or two for the processing. The protocol for handling those waxes must have been very strict. They had to be kept away from heat, and immaculately free from dust and fingerprints. There must have been some kind of "white room" at the big companies where this very exacting step was taken. I can't imagine how Victor, OKeh, et cetera, managed this on field trips, when the waxes were shipped thousands of miles to the home factory, but somehow they had it down to a science.
"Instantaneous" discs, the ones playable immediately without processing, were available by the later 1920s, but primarily for radio transcriptions and amateur recordings (starting in 1930, some of the more expensive Victor radio-phonographs had cutting heads designed to be used with the company's recording blanks).
Presto's lacquer-coated aluminum discs, introduced in 1934, were the first professional-quality instantaneous disc recording medium. By the late 1930s, some recording firms were using them instead of wax blanks.
Many thanks, Brad, Albert and Harold. This is exactly the information I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to dig out so much about a process I have always wanted to know more about. The piece about the record companys decision and practice of dumping some of these treasures from their vaults is fascinating. The stories then about people leaving a recording session in the late 20s with a test pressing only to have someone sit on it on the way home must have been a reference to an awfully long day at the studio or to a test pressing from an earlier recording session. Terrific stuff!
Fantastic News From Gerri, the coordinator in Bix's hometown for ....
... welcoming Bix's piano to Davenport.
The piano is in the Adler Theatre. Gerri coordinated the whole affair, people in the Adler, a piano expert who already tuned the piano, a local pianist who tried it by playing Bix's "Flashes" and the local press to provide an account of this historical event.
Thanks to Gerri and all the Davenportians who were involved in the event. I can't wait to see the piano and give my lecture. I'll be in Davenport in nine days, if everything works out as scheduled.
Unfortunately, when we came back from New York City last Friday after spending two days celebrating my younger son's 50th birthday (he came especially from Georgia with wife an children), when we arrived home, my wife tripped, fell and broke her arm. She has been in the Stony Brook hospital waiting for surgery. The celebration was such a nice affair -there were friends from high school, college, graduate school, his various positions in New York City, California and Georgia, and it ended up in an unfortunate manner. Of course, we will do our best to go to Davenport, and I am pretty sure I will, but I am not so sure that my wife will be able to make it.
He is the best orthopedic surgeon in Stony Brook. My wife is not so enthusiastic. Lots of pain and unable to travel on Thursday. Still in the hospital. I will be going by myself. First time I go without her since 1999 or 2000, and we have not missed one festival since then. The only reason I am not cancelling is the important unveiling of Bix' piano and my scheduled seminar. Otherwise, I would stay by her side.
We have been friends since 1949 and a married couple since 1955! This is what we looked like in 1955 in Los Angeles. She has not changed much. I have aged considerably and people who knew me as a young man would not recognize me now, but mind and body are in excellent condition.
Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Concert
Saturday, August 3, 2013 12:30 pm -
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4610 Queens Blvd
New York, NY 11104
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The Bix Beiderbecke Sunnyside Memorial Committee, Sunnyside Shines BID and Community Board 2 invite all to an afternoon of music celebrating the short-but-prolific life of jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke, who lived nearby.
Performers include The Sunnyside Wolverines (Linda Ipanema, vocals; David Shenton, piano and violin; Jordan Sandke, trumpet; Carol Sudhalter, sax; Herb Gardner, trombone; Mark Wade, bass; and Paul Maringeli, drums and washboard), the Sunnyside Drum Corps, Svetlana & the Delcancey Five and Antique Phonograph DJ Michael Cumella, Smidge Malone & Matt Dallow.
Beiderbecke died at age 28 on Aug. 6, 1931, on 46th Street (Bliss St.) in Sunnyside.
Most recently we were told that Sofia's Restaurant will be closing. Our last night will be Tuesday, August 13th, 2013. Sofia's has lost their lease after 37 years and the Hotel Edison has other plans for our space. We feel fortunate that Vince Giordano and the Nighthawkshave had a home for over 5 years playing music from the 1920's and '30s on both Monday and Tuesday evenings. We know, in this day and age that this is indeed rare.
As a band leader, I have had the opportunity to experience a truly world-class band. Playing together frequently has refined each Nighthawk and their talents. This has led to a cohesive unit beyond my imagination. We have actually won a Grammy for our work on HBOs Boardwalk Empire and have played for Queens and Presidents and dancers and all of you!
I personally want to thank the staff and every musician and most of all the audience that has filled Sofia's these past 5 years.
We thank you for your unwavering devotion and hope to see you from the bandstand some day soon! We are ferociously looking for a new home. If you know of a restaurant that would be open to having us on a regular basis, please call me!!!
Albert, I saw on the TV news it's going up to 100 degrees there -- please be careful. The horrid heat has a way of sneaking up in affecting people.
Pittsburgh's a nightmare too, going up to the high 90's today and as sultry as the equator here. Supposed to have storms here and "back home in Cleveland" over the weekend but I hope desperately the power does not go out -- it's like a hot mush of jungle.
If I go outside and stand on the sidewalk for more than 5 minutes, I'll probably melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. . . .
The crude methods resorted to for air conditioning. The story goes that Bix wrapped himself in sheets he'd soaked in the bathtub and then turned a fan on himself, hence leading to the pneumonia which killed him.
(Physicians always argue that "getting cold and wet" is NOT what causes deathly illness, with which I agree, but if one is already sick with a cold virus, being out in nasty weather or any kind of soggy exposure sure doesn't help -- I can attest to that from a roaring case of bronchitis I got when I was 25, when a strong cold I caught around Halloween manifested itself into my being really, really sick, having to attend classes at Cleveland State University plus work my job at a clothing store, both downtown -- much time spent standing around outside waiting for busses during all of November 1985, when it was around 40 degrees and a very chilly, penetrating, constant rain almost every day. How I kept from pneumonia or out of the hospital I don't know, and neither did the doctor when she finally saw me and said that was a wallopping case of bronchitis I had.)
Argue what people will, at least air conditioning can be turned down and adjusted to be comfortable. And whatever fans were blowing and sheets were soaked, New York's 90 degrees in early August 1931 could not have possibly done any good for anyone with a high fever.
And I'm still sticking to my guns that Bix had somehow gotten ahold of some government-poisoned hooch, as well -- so many people dropped dead that summer and autumn of 1931 with the same alarming symptoms of intense delirium, strong enough for a few moments to run from the street into a hospital emergency room yelling for help, or in Bix's case, calling for George Kraslow in the hall and standing there in his room describing his hallucination -- before abruptly dropping dead--and all such symptoms New Yorkers suffered that way was ascribed to getting "bad hooch" which years later was found to be deliberately poisoned per the government during the last part of Prohibition. Maybe Bix thought a couple of strong drinks would knock away some of his worsening cold symptoms, who knows? We just have the tragic result to read about.
Yes, tragic indeed. In those last fateful days of Bix's life, his suffering pneumonia and delirium tremens, was the succession of visitors to his apartment, some taking in booze of dubious quality.
Louis Armstrong's assertion referring to those callers, that "they weren't his friends, they were hangers on and they killed him" sounds very close to the truth.
China Boy. Lazy Daddy. Cryin' All Day.
He dreamed he played the notes so slowly that
they hovered in the air above the crowd
and shimmered like a neon sign. But no,
the club stayed dark, trays clattered in the kitchen,
people drank and went on talking. He watched
the smoke drift from a woman's cigarette
and slowly circle up across the room
until the ceiling fan blades chopped it up.
A face, a young girl's face, looked up at him,
the stupid face of small-town innocence.
He smiled her way and wondered who she was.
He looked again and saw the face was his.
He woke up then. His head still hurt from drinking,
Jimmy was driving. Tram was still asleep.
Where were they anyway? Near Davenport?
There was no distance in these open fields--
only time, time marked by a farmhouse
or a barn, a tin-topped silo or a tree,
some momentary silhouette against
the endless, empty fields of snow.
He lit a cigarette and closed his eyes.
The best years of his life! The Boring Twenties.
He watched the morning break across the snow.
Would heaven be as white as Iowa?
The model is a fragment of the cover of the 1947 Columbia album "Bix and Tram," A Hot Jazz Classic, C-144.
There are four 78 rpm records in this album:
C-144-1 (37804) Singin' The Blues W-80393-B C-144-2 (37804) Clarinet Marmalade W-80392-A C-144-3 (37805) Riverboat Shuffle W-81072-B C-144-4 (37805) Ostrich Walk W-81071-B C-144-5 (37806) Way Down Yonder In New Orleans W-81084-B C-144-6 (37806) Wringin' An' Twistin' W-81450-A C-144-7 (37807) Take Your Tomorrow W-401133-B C-144-8 (37807) Baby, Won't You Please Come Home W-401811-C
That is indeed sad news about the death of long-time Bix booster Jim Arpy.
The bright side is that he left a body of work that greatly enriched our picture of the young Bix in his well-researched and well-written articles. We are thankful for what he left behind, and thankful that you reprinted or linked to them here for those who had not yet read them.