The Bixography Discussion Group
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.
I started archiving some of the threads that have been inactive for some time.
The archived threads can be found at http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~alhaim/archivesforum.htm
I started archiving some of the threads that have been inactive for some time. The archived threads can be found at http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~alhaim/archivesforum.htm
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.
.... one of these? http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f140/dick-catharts-41-martin-committee-58525.html
Charles Richard Cathcart (November 6, 1924 November 8, 1993) was an AmericanDixieland trumpet player.
Born and raised in Michigan City, Indiana; Cathcart was best known as a member of the Lawrence Welk orchestra, in which he appeared on the Maestro's television program from 1962 to 1968. Before that, he played with bands led by Ray Noble and Ben Pollack and had stints with Bob Crosby and Alvino Rey. He also worked as a studio musician for MGM Studios from 1946 to 1949.
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).
The arrangement is clearly based on Bix's recording.
And here is his interpretation of Candlelights.
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.
Bix's physical life ended 82 years ago. But Bix is alive through his musical legacy. Play severl Bix records today and be amazed -and thankful- by what he was able to do in his too short life.
-- 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.
.... had a short segment on Bix's piano.
Friday, Aug 2, 2013, River Music Experience, after my Alice and Bix seminar. Randy Sandke, John Otto and Albert Haim (who needs a haircut). Courtesy of Bob Jacobsen.
Friday, Aug 2, 2013, Adler Theatre. Albert Haim in front of Bix's piano. Courtesy of Debbie White.
Friday, Aug 2, 2013, Adler Thatre. John Otto, John Landry and Albert Haim examining Bix's piano. Courtesy of Vicki Wassenhoff, daughter of Bix's friend Les Swanson.
Saturday, Aug 3, 2013, River Music Experience, Fred Beiderbecke and Albert Haim. Courtesy of Debbie White.
Aug 2, 2013. Randy Sandke's New York All-Stars. Courtesy of Vicki Wassenhoff, daughter of Bix's friend Les Swanson.
Aug 2, 2013. Josh Duffee's Graystone Monarchs. Courtesy of Vicki Wassenhoff, daughter of Bix's friend Les Swanson.
The final photo in the list isn't Josh's Graystone Monarchs. It's a very good picture of Andy Schumm and His Flatland Gang. though.
Thanks for the correction. Josh was everywhere, so it was hard to keep track of the bands!
Yes, he was! And John Otto and Dave Boeddinghaus were right behind Josh in accrued time-on-stage. The Iron Men Trio!
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.
I will check the forum and my mail everyday.
Will be back on Monday night.
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?
See also http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1253715835/Adoration
"Manny Albam (June 24, 1922 in Samana, Dominican Republic October 2, 2001 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, USA) was a jazz baritone saxophone player who eventually became a composer, arranger, producer, and educator. He was well known for his association with United Artists-Solid State Records.
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.
"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!
John, I was really impressed with this performance, too. It has a very nice late 1950s progressive jazz groove without taking any egregious liberties with the composition as written.
It is rhythmic, impressionistic, and lovely. I think you nailed it when you pointed out that it shows "how far ahead of his time Bix really was."
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.
Radio Program # 213. (loaded on 07/26/2013) Vincent Lopez's Recordings: 1922-1928. 64 min 15 sec
Real Audio Streaming audio file Download file. 15.7 MB
Streaming mp3 file http://bixography.com/wbixmp3/WBIX213.m3u
Download file bixography.com/wbixmp3/WBIX213.mp3 46.3 MB
All recordings by Vincent Lopez's Orchestra.
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.
WBIX # 214 will be uploaded on August 30, 2013.
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.
Thanks for posting it here.
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.
Norman field also has an excellent description of the process, including a "flow chart", of the steps involved between wax blank and pressed disc:
"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!
... 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.
I'll keep you posted.
Love the story, love the pictures and love your comments, Albert!! This is all SO exciting!!!!!!
Thank You Albert, for giving a day I will always remember. The only thing missing was Rich Johnson.
I will take my antique piano stool down to the Adler on Thursday, so it really looks like 1930.
Hope all ok well, this Friday.
--and hope she has a quick recovery -- it would be too bad to miss the Bix Fest.
Surgery is on Friday, the festival begins on Thursday, Aug 1.Very tight. We shall see.
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.
Lovely photo, The best to you always
What a handsome couple! I'm so sorry your wife has to miss the Bix Festival.
Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Concert
Saturday, August 3, 2013 12:30 pm -
Add to Calendar
4610 Queens Blvd
New York, NY 11104
Rob M. See all of Rob M.'s events »
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!!!
And most of all, keep supporting live music ~
watch the video there is also a recording studio up stairs.http://www.neirstavern.com
I am in New York City. Hot like h....
Back this evening.
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. . . .
You can't be in the Big Apple and avoid walking. But we were careful and came back to the slightly less oppressively heat of Stony Brook safe and sound.
Imagine Bixie in this heat, living (suffering) in Queens, with no air conditioning.
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.
Not sure whether this poem by Dana Gioia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Gioia has ever been posted in this forum, but thought it interesting:
Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931)
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?
What do you all think?
I can't critique poetry, but it did grab me as interesting and without affectation.
Check out the tattoo, not a strong likeness of Bix is it?:http://jimflora.blogspot.com/2012/03/today-is-109th-birthday-of-leon-bix.html
Here is the tatoo:
Here is the model used to make the tatoo.
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
Jim, co-author with Rich Johnson and Gerri Bowers of Bix: The Davenport Album passed away yesterday.
There is a brief notice in the QC Times.
Jim wrote several articles about Bix in the Davenport newspapers. Here are some links.
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.
Posted Online: July 15, 2013, 1:00 pm
Press release submitted by TAG Communications
Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society celebrates traditional jazz at 42nd annual festival
DAVENPORT, Iowa The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Society will celebrate the life and music of legendary musician Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke at the 42nd annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, August 1-4, in Davenport, Iowa.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, in 1903, Bix Beiderbecke gained fame as a self-taught jazz cornet player with a unique sound. Beiderbecke played with Jean Goldkette, Bing Crosby and Paul Whiteman.
This year's lineup will feature Johnny Crawford, jazz vocalist and actor. Crawford gained fame as a child star playing Mark McCain on the TV series, "The Rifleman."
Also performing are Cecile McLorin Salvant, Jon Weber, The Tony Hamilton Orchestra, Andy Schumm & His Flatland Gang, Josh Duffee's Graystone Ballroom Orchestra, Randy Sandke's New York All-Stars, Bob Schulz's Frisco Jazz band, Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Band, Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers, River City 6, Jimmy Valentine Quintet with Dave Bennett, Five Bridges Jazz Band and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Youth Jazz Band.
Highlights of this year's festival include:
· Opening concert featuring the River City 6, Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers, Andy Schumm & His Flatland Gang, Bob Schultz Frisco Jazz Band and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Youth Jazz Band 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport
· Lectures on Beiderbecke's childhood, his piano and the history of dance 9 a.m. Arkansas &Platte River Rooms, RiverCenter, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport
· Ceremony and concert at the gravesite of Bix Beiderbecke featuring the Bix Youth Jazz Band
10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Oakdale Memorial Gardens, 2501 Eastern Ave., Davenport
· Jazz Liturgy at the home church of the Beiderbecke family featuring the Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, First Presbyterian Church, 1702 Iowa St., Davenport
Tickets are $25 for a single concert or $45 for a day pass. Concerts will be held at the RiverCenter and Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, and LeClaire Park, 700 W. River Dr., Davenport. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.bixsociety.org.
The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Society was founded in 1972 to perpetuate the music and memory of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke through an annual jazz festival, jazz education programs and the preservation of traditional jazz.
Chris Tyle's comment in a brief discussion of this recording in facebook:
"Definitely not Bix. Interesting, however. If anyone doubts, however, Bix would never have repeated the same lick which opens the solo on the non-vocal take so many times. Also the lick played at 2:40 is not something Bix ever played on record."
Non-vocal version: bixbeiderbecke.com/whenawomanrwknovocal.mp3
Vocal version: bixbeiderbecke.com/whenawomanvocaljazzoracle.mp3
The late Jean Pierre Lion's comments on this recording: http://www.normanfield.com/rwk.htm
I much enjoy perusing everyone's blog entries, as always.
The Jean Pierre Lion page was interesting, speculating on how this recording date might have fit into the Bix biographical information presently known.
1st - Concerning the two or several trumpeters sounding on the Roger Wolf Kahn non-vocal waxing here, (Brunswick's RW Kahn of Jan 1930, title "When A Woman Loves A Man") notice how the one perhaps-Beiderbecke plays with a weaker sound than the other trumpeter(s), who blow much more forcefully in comparison, especially in the closing bars. Beiderbecke's playing, said to have weakened with his health during these last years of his.
2nd - The perhaps-Beiderbecke trumpeter (cornet, probably - whichever) plays his Bixian phrases with a cup mute, held with left hand in front of his horn's bell... not a plunger mute, in other words (the muted solo from ~ 2:28 to 2:50, prior to enseble close). Muted playing was something Beiderbecke nearly never did (it's been years since I read the Evans bio, pardon if i'm mistaken in this fact, but I think it's the case)... the rare known instance(s) of Beiderbecke recorded with mute come from late Whiteman-Bix sides... time period coincident with this Kahn waxing.
3rd - I must disagree with the Facebook contributor Mr. Haim cites to begin the discussion. Consider the NYC Brunswick side from June 1930 (five months after this Kahn), Mills "Strut Miss Lizzie" and listen on that track to the seconds surrounding 2:50... a flurry of cornet notes descending chormatically, followed immediately with a drumbeat burst... the same as happens on this Kahn side at 2:40. If Beiderbecke never recorded such a drum-puncuated phrase, then he doesn't play on the Mills "Strut Miss Lizzie" either.
And so, I'd have to guess it's Bix playing on this Kahn.
One more note on this redux,
My previous post focused on the Kahn Brunswick w/o vocal... Since then I've listened to the take with the vocal, and wish to add another point supporting my suggestion that Beiderbecke plays on this side.
A lick/riff/style/etc Beiderbecke employed on earlier of his pre-1930 recordings was to jump a note an octave, blowing through successive harmonics, in a fast-ascending slur. Listen to the conclusion of his "Goose Pimples" waxing, for example. Offhand I know such Dixieland jazz-context brass octave-jump harmonic slurs can be heard in some Louis Armstrong '20s waxings, also.
In this redux's Kahn side with the vocal, the perhaps-Beiderbecke post-vocal/pre-enemble-close trumpet (or cornet) solo incorporates just such an octave-jump slur, near the outset of the brief cornet solo which follows the vocal. On this take the trumpeter/cornettist doesn't use any cup mute.
There's no biographical evidence that Bix was anywhere in the area when this record was made, but apparently there's no hard evidence that he wasn't, either! The solos are both quite interesting and at least plausible as Bix items, more so than such Bix apocrypha as the 1928 Lou Raderman session (the moment I heard the double-time intro on "Why Do I Love You?," so typical of Mannie Klein and so UNtypical of Bix, it was obvious Klein was playing that solo!) and the 1929 Ray Miller "Cradle of Love" (nice solos on both takes but most definitely not Bix). As Fred points out, this player is using musical devices Bix used on his known records, so if it isn't he it's one of the many New York trumpeters/cornetists who had listened closely to Bix and consciously copied his style.
But Fred's wrong when he says Bix only used a mute on "late" recordings with Whiteman. Bix's first record with a mute is "Changes," his second Whiteman side, recorded in late 1927 when he was still at the peak of his powers.
Mark is right to point out that Bix, like most players in that time, did use mutes occasionally on recordings. Isn't "There'll Come A Time" mostly done with a mute, for example? Of course, Whiteman strove especially hard for a "layered" and varied sound, so his musicians had to be quite versatile, and Bix did a lot of muted section work there.
Yes.... I hadn't listened to some of those later Whitemans in quite awhile. The orchestral sound shadings... the brass are stoppered here and there with mutes.
If your hat is hung over the bell of your horn, does that count as 'muted'?
If you want to hear some real mute playing (as opposed to the stoppered variety), listen to King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band play "Dippermouth Blues" on Gennett from 1923... not on the '23 Okeh, and not from the later Syncopators rendering on Vocalion... but just the '23 Gennett of... Also hear "Sweet Lovin' Man" from those '23 Gennetts. And the pair of Morton-Oliver duets on Autograph, too, have real mute playing.
Hear Charlie Green and Joe Smith on some of those Bessie Smith accompaniments & Henderson bluesy sides. Now you're talking mutes.
"A definite maybe," well-put. I enjoy your posts in this forum, and they suggest you're among the documentary students of this subject - dates, places, circumstances, etc. While I've read on this subject over time, likely I don't have nearly as much documentary detail of it callable from memory as you, and numerous of the other blog posters. Instead I'd need to go back to the reference books and search around.
I'll take your word for "Changes" being the first Bix muted playing waxed, then. Muted Beiderbecke playing (on record, this discussion) is very much the exception, though. He was an open-horn player, in contrast with early jazz brass greats who were masters with mutes - Oliver, Miley, others. And most of Beiderbecke's rare muted examples come late within the '25-'30 timespan, I think.
On my point that the muted trumpeter played less forcefully than the other trumpeter, after posting I realized that could as easily have been an accident of recording... positioning players around a single microphone, recorded sonic balance among players the goal, but not always attained.
You've got me, on Manny Klein. If the Kahn track displayed quintessential Manny Klein playing, I was unaware. McConville/Nichols/Bose/many-others... wide influence of the Bix sound.
On the subject of "possibles," what's your impression of Maureen Englund's statement to researchers, latter '70s article, that Beiderbecke was among a small ensemble accompanying her vocals, on several Gennett tracks from early '25~ish? I listened to them a few times, and on that initial hearing, failed (me, listening) to hear any of the Beiderbecke sound. Still, in context, he would have been very a very new player, still developing an individual style, and among a small group supporting a singer rather than trying to stand among an instrumental session. So possibly an example of Beiderbecke playing very straight, sounding quite non-Beiderbecke.
Finally, there was something on the web a few years ago, somewhere... wish I could cite it, but failed to save... Someone authored a detailed article describing the players on the University of Wisconsin Skyrockets session, several 1930~ish Paramount tracks. Those tracks have long been named as early (or first) Bunny Berigan records, but this author's article presented a very detailed discussion of who the players were, instead, including quotes from the trumpeter recalling the session, and his dance-band-playing back then. Very interesting stuff, wish I could cite.
My reference to Mannie Klein was NOT to suggest him as a possibility for the Roger Wolfe Kahn "When a Woman Loves a Man" date. It was a reference to a particularly notorious example of a record inaccurately attributed to Bix: the 1928 Lou Raderman date at which were recorded "Oh Gee! Oh Joy!," "Why Do I Love You?" and "Ol' Man River." I posted on this a few months back after hearing the Raderman sides, on which Klein was known to have been present and insisted he had played the improvised solos. More than any other audible evidence, it's the double-time intro on "Why Do I Love You?" that marks the Raderman trumpeter/cornetist as Klein, not Bix, though playing the Raderman "Ol' Man River" side by side with the known Bix and His Gang record of the song strengthens the case that the soloist on the Raderman date wasn't Bix.
"When a Woman Loves a Man" remains an enigma. It's impossible to rule Bix out as the soloist either on musical or biographical grounds. My guess would be an imitator (albeit a highly musical, talented one!) because it doesn't scream at me "Bix!" the way the Whiteman "Waiting at the End of the Road" or the Irving Mills June 1930 date do. Nor does it scream at me "Not Bix!" as Mannie Klein's playing on the Raderman date does. And there's also an enigma surrounding the song itself (decently sung by the vocalist on the Kahn date, though whoever she is she's not at the level of Annette Hanshaw or Fanny Brice, who made the best records of this) in that it's credited to composer Bernie Hanighen. So is a later "When a Woman Loves a Man," recorded by Billie Holiday in 1937, but that's a completely different song!
I'd be interested if you ever run across that article on the University of Wisconsin Skyrockets. I have those two sides ("Dizzy Corners" and "Postage Stamp"); they're on the JSP Records boxed set "Paramount Jazz."
.... Libby Holman.
Here is my analysis of the Lou Raderman sides.
.... in the ASCAP data base.
Here is the entry for the one penned by Hanighen.
10.WHEN A WOMAN LOVES A MAN Work ID: 530047735ISWC: T0701987952
WritersIPI #Current Affiliation
HANIGHEN BERNARD D13341826ASCAP
JENKINS GORDON 15255411ASCAP
MERCER JOHN H20520152ASCAP
Performers CLAYTON-B TATE-BDINAH WASHINGTONDUCHIN EE CONDON & HIS ALL STARSFITZGERALD EGLEASON JGLEASON JACKIEHOLIDAY BKAY STARRLARKINS ENANCY WILSONSHEARING GSTARR KWASHINGTON DWILLIAMS JOEWILSON NANCY
The 78 0nline discography gives Rose and Rainger as the composers of Kahn's recording of "When A Woman Loves A Man."
4699 ROGER WOLFE KAHN & HIS ORCH COOKING BREAKFAST FOR THE ONE I LOVE 31961 - E31960 1/22/30 BILLY ROSE-HENRY TOBIAS
4699 ROGER WOLFE KAHN & HIS ORCH WHEN A WOMAN LOVES A MAN 31963 - E31962 1/22/30 ROSE-RAINGER
22295A BERNIE CUMMINS NEW YORKER ORCH COOKING BREAKFAST FOR THE ONE I LOVE (vBM) 58618=1 - - 1/23/1930 ROSE-TOBIAS
22295B BERNIE CUMMINS NEW YORKER ORCH WHEN A WOMAN LOVES A MAN (vBM) 58619=4 - - 1/23/1930 -
41370 ANNETTE HANSHAW COOKING BREAKFAST FOR THE ONE I LOVE 403692=A - - 1/27/30 H.TOBIAS-BILLY ROSE"BeYourself
41370 ANNETTE HANSHAW WHEN A WOMAN LOVES A MAN 403693=B - - 1/27/30 Rose - Rainger "Be Yourself"
Both songs were featured in the move "Be Yourself." Are such identical couplings in several records common or uncommon? Can you guys cite other examples?
The evidence suggests that Bix was likely to have been in Davenport at the time of the Roger Wolfe Kahn recording of "When A Woman Loves A Man", but let's just assume for a moment that he was back in New York.
The notion that Bix, feeling unwell and out of practice at the time, would seek out the Roger Wolfe Kahn Orchestra and ask to sit in with the band just doesn't stack up. And the suggestion that Roger Wolfe Kahn or someone from his organisation tried to contact Bix to ask him to play on the session is equally unlikely. In reality, if the solo on the Roger Wolfe Kahn side was not played by one of the regular musicians in his band at the time, it would have been allocated to an active session musician who could play hot and in the latest style...and to my ears it sounds to be just that, in other words Bixian rather than Bix.
It is important to stress here that Bix was never a "studio musician" in the sense that Red Nichols, Manny Klein and Sylvester Ahola were. You had to be a superb sight reader to be in amongst this crowd, able to play anything put in front of you. By the late 1920s, dance bands were part of a fully formed entertainments industry and needed trained musicians like these. Mistakes and delays cost recording companies money, which is why top session musicians made so much! This was not an environment in which Bix naturally thrived. Of course, Bix took part in those famous OKeh studio sessions with Trumbauer, but these were not the quick "in the door, record the titles and out" sessions that the likes of Sam Lanin presided over, and he was often familiar with the arrangements well in advance of the Trumbauer recording sessions.
Given the above, I would have thought that the last place Bix would have wanted to be in January 1930 was inside a recording studio playing with an unfamiliar band (the same is true for January 1929, with Ray Miller's "Cradle of Love"). In fact, he was still so unwell and out of practice that he didn't even feel up to rejoining the ranks of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, a band that had been his musical home since late 1927 and which was directed by a man with a caring paternal attitude towards him.
Of course, I would dearly love for a new Bix solo to be discovered - such things are holy grails - but we must be careful not to swap rational thinking with wishful thinking, as often happens when we seek to satisfy our desires by transforming a Bixian solo into one by Bix.
Nick, your logic is impeccable. The two sides ("Cradle of Love" and "When A Woman Loves A Man") that are the most controversial deal with at a time that Bix was in poor physical conditions, require tampering with chronological documentation, and assume that Bix was willing to go to a studio to participate on the spot in a scheduled recording session by highly popular and well-establihed bands. Not rational.
Unfortunately all witnesses are gone and all we can do is rely on our ears. And that is where the controversies arise, as each Bix aficionado has a different conception of Bix's sound. The other problem is that Bix was such a pervasive influence on trumpet players beginning in 1924 that many of them made serious efforts to emulate Bix - and often they were quite successful.. With all that, we are faced with a problem that cannot be solved using objective criteria. It is subjective and each of us has a different opinion. And that, of course, gives rise to endless arguments.
To me, this subject is all about finding musical recordings I enjoy listening to. I can only offer an occasional idea/opinion, spawned from enthusiastic listening.
Anyone here dig Clyde McCoy's playing? That mute playing might have been a little excessive, Rust suggested. My mute post meant to differentiate (a) manipulating the mute with a hand to artfully sound the 'wah' inflections, versus (b) a mute implanted in the bell. Without researching to confirm, it's my impression that Beiderbecke's recorded mute work was entirely the (b) variety. Interestingly, on the non-vocal Kahn "When A Man Loves A Woman" take, the muting sounded all of the (a) type to me. Again, I hadn't heard those particular Kahn tracks before last week - you guys be the judges. Something about that brief solo phrasing, though... hesitant, restrained... sounded like Bix to me.
Yes, if I ever run across that Skyrockets article again, I'll post it here without delay. It was out there on the internet somewhere several years ago, maybe still is.
In the mid 1930's, when the subject of Bix came into fashion and he was being hailed as a National Hero, from out of the woodwork and under the stones came a succession of those who claimed to have known Bix, each with their own personal anecdotes to relate to those who would listen, and so began the Bix myths and fiction that, decades later, it was left to devoted people such as the late Philip Evans to sort the wheat from the chaff. We are indeed indebted to Phil for his years of dedication in discovering, as far as was possible, the true Bix.
So when the discussion "Is it Bix?" on recordings such as "Cradle of Love" and "When a Man Loves a Woman" arises, I can only refer to a previous Forum posting, that the members of the Ray Miller and Roger Wolfe Kahn bands, each with most of the personnel still around in the 1950's and men who had held Bix in the highest regard, with many of them attempting to copy his style, well, had Bix sat in for just one selection, for just one solo, that day would have been etched in their minds for all time.
Yet not one of them came forward to recall, just twenty or so years later, those memorable sessions. A total of around twenty five musicians in all, yet not one could bring to mind the day "when Bix sat in with us". If it was Bix present on those recordings, how come every man present on the relevant sessions had each suffered a complete loss of memory?
Indeed, where are Bix's admirers who recorded with him? It stands to reason that anyone who recorded with Bix would come forward and present his claim to fame. Association with genius is a way. for many people including yours truly, of rubbing off a tiny bit of genius onto oneself! I freely admit I have this weakness. I often mention that I spent 1961-1962 at Stanford University doing research with the great Henry Taube who, in 1983, received the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Still, there is that remark by Izzy Friedman, confessing that he, Bix, Tram, Rank, and others did some wildcatting off the Whiteman reservation. It must have been the truth, because it didn't add any luster to Friedman's sideman career to add that fact to the historical record.
We know that for at least most of his life, Bix could rarely resist an opportunity to sit in (or join up) with all sorts of bands, playing a variety of musical styles, especially with friends, even when it meant he got no sleep. Perhaps it served as a diversion, a mood lifter, for him when he was otherwise at loose ends. And even feeling bad, as he is said to have while with Whiteman on tour, he knew that he had to play to keep up his lip. So while Nick Dellow's and Albert Haim's "psychological" reading of Bix's state of mind is altogether rational and likely true, there is just that chance that Bix could have been led or drawn to be "one of the boys" pro tem when he was otherwise unemployed. Playing with a band was his life, his social life as well as his profession. The possibility of his being drawn to take an anonymous ad hoc job is what makes these recordings so intriguing.
"It must have been the truth"? As Oscar Wilde once said, "If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out." Seriously speaking though, if you are referring to Friedman's comment on page 426 of Evans and Evans, then it is all a bit vague to say the least. I don't think there is enough to go on here to be honest. For all we know, he might have been thinking of the Trumbauer OKeh sessions.
Moreover, a healthy and happy Bix sitting in with friends as part of an informal gathering is a totally different scenario to an ill and out of practice Bix joining the ranks of an unfamiliar name band during one of their routine recording sessions. A jam session is one thing, getting into a jam is another.
If we travel down the road of "what if's" and "possibilities" we can arrive at any destination our desires choose. If, on the other hand, we are guided by rational thinking and known facts, we are forced to halt in our journey when the driver says "I can't see where we are going because it's too foggy". That is when I get off the bus and try and find out where we are rather than travel on in hopeful anticipation with my fellow passengers. No doubt there will be the odd occasion when they arrive at their destination while I am left out in the cold. So be it.
Incidentally, I don't recall offering a "psychological reading of Bix's state of mind", but if I did I'm absolutely certain that Albert didn't!
You're right, Mr. Dellow. It's navigating in a fog to suppose what Bix might have done on such-and-such a day. We're just supposin' on these iffy recordings.
But surely Friedman couldn't have thought playing on the Bix & Tram recordings was wildcatting; he was with all Whiteman guys. Same is true for the Bix & His Gang recordings. He had to have known these were all PW sidemen for good reason; he worked with them daily. They all signed the same contracts. What recordings, then, was he talking about? We can't know, since apparently no one followed up on that statement by asking.
It's "psychologizing," however logical, to suppose Bix's constant state of mind was such that he would never violate his exclusive contract with Whiteman. We can't really know that for sure, even though I agree that it's likely he would not have. Being in a weakened and vulnerable state might have made that look better to him than when he was healthy.
It's all foggy. But discographies do change now and then. It's just a slight crack in the open mind window, maybe just enough to let the fog in, for sure!
It is interesting and perhaps relevant to note that Izzy Friedman says in his quote: "Bix, Tram, Venuti, Lang, and myself would do recordings with different groups". Are these "different groups" simply the OKeh sides directed by Bix, Tram, Venuti and Lang that Friedman is known to have taken part in? Apart from the OKeh sessions with Trumbauer and Bix, Friedman is listed as having taken part in just four additional non-Whiteman led recording sessions while he was a member of the Whiteman orchestra - one for Eddie Lang (OKeh, October 5th, 1929), two for Joe Venuti (OKeh, October 16th, 1929, and OKeh, May 22, 1930) and one with the Mason-Dixon Orchestra (Columbia, May 15th, 1929). This is hardly the "many" recording sessions that Friedman spoke about in the quote given in Evans and Evans.
Friedman's remark that "We would not let them use our names for the "Old Man" would really raise hell" doesn't seem to make sense, because as you point out, such OKeh and Columbia dates were not wildcatting sessions. Since 1926, OKeh had been a division (more or less just a label in fact) of Columbia, the company Whiteman had a contract with from May 1928. Of course, Trumbauer did recording sessions for OKeh before May 1928, at the time when Whiteman's contract was with Victor, but even these must have been OK'd (excuse the pun!) by Whiteman, since Trumbauer's name is on the OKeh labels (as is Venuti's, Lang's and Bix's for their OKeh sessions) and so they could hardly have been made behind his back!
If we exclude all the OKeh recordings then, as you say, we are left wondering as to what the "many" sessions Friedman refers to might be. Friedman had a very distinctive style and tone, and can be easily spotted when he solos. Hence he is immediately identified as the clarinet soloist on the Joe Candullo side "Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong" (made before he joined Whiteman). So far, no recordings other than those made at the sessions mentioned above have come to light, leading one to doubt the veracity of Friedman's assertion.
Finally, I didn't mean to imply that Bix would never violate his exclusive contract with Whiteman. I was just trying to make the point that an ill and out of practice Bix would in all probability not have wanted to seek out a recording session with a band he was unfamiliar with. But in any case in 1930 Bix was no longer a member of Whiteman's orchestra and so recordings with Roger Wolfe Kahn, or anyone else, would not be wildcatting.
Right! The Hotsy Totsy and Hoagy Carmichael recordings were clearly post-PW. They were not in dispute. The contracts seem to have been with the Whiteman Orchestra, not the recording companies per se, allowing recording only if all the other musicians were also in the Whiteman organization. All of the Bix & Tram and Bix & His Gang recordings were legit and are not questioned, That is granted.
Again, how can we know what Friedman meant by "many?" But given the problems that have come up about identifying Bix, a player with a most distinctive sound playing openly as himself, (e.g., on the "Strut Miss Lizzie" session, which many people once knew was not Bix, but rather Nichols or several others, and the ongoing questions about whether he played on the issued version of "Waiting at the End of the Road"), it would have been much easier for Izzy Friedman to get away with a wildcat recording. His sound was fairly distinctive, but certainly not so unique that he could be identified in an ensemble, for example. He might have been careful not to solo, so how would we know?
What about "I Like That," once believed not to be Bix?
We have to respect what is known, but there are things that are not and may never be. I still say, leave a bit of an open mind for those misty mysteries. Perhaps those computer sound analysis guys need to get to work on these questioned recordings and end these ongoing questions! Or maybe that would not end them either!
Your Occam's Razor is sharp indeed, Mr. Dellow, and it cuts to the quick.
Still: Convoluted though the scenario might be to justify Bix's presence on "Cradle of Love," let me reiterate that on musical grounds alone he remains a likely candidate for the soloist. I tried to get off the professorial hook many times, but as the alternate takes appeared, the originality of this soloist kept reasserting itself. He showed subtle trait after subtle trait we identify with Bix.
A man to be reckoned with, certainly, who is heard ONLY on this one date and side.
Yes, I admit that I do like to keep Occam's Razor nice and sharp, though only to cut a few sails lose when caution is thrown to the wind.
But in fact, I allowed the razor to blunt recently when I was caught out myself with another recording - nothing to do with Bix - and maybe that is why I am even more than ever erring on the side of caution. I won't go into details here as the story about the recording is forming part of an article I am writing - I'll send you a link to it when it's published later this year. However, I will say that as with your assertion about the soloist on Cradle of Love, this was another case where "on musical grounds alone he was the likely candidate for the soloist", with the "likely candidate" also being famous. Several other collectors concurred. Unfortunately, facts subsequently came to light that proved us wrong. It is clearly the case that "musical grounds" are not always firm enough on their own and we must therefore tread cautiously at all times!
I know I'm beginning to sound like a killjoy. But really, I'm just as passionate as anyone else when it comes to searching for those holy grail recordings. As I said in a previous message a few years ago, if the hunt also throws up some interesting Bixian records that prove what a pervading influence Bix was then even if we never find another genuine example of a hitherto unknown Bix solo the search will still have been more than worthwhile.
Bravo, Nick. That was well and fairly put. It seems that our positions are not so much all at odds after all.
Points to keep in an open mind:
1. New documentary evidence is still being located (cf. Albert Haim's recent additions to Bix's itinerary with the Goldkette Orchestra) which fills in some of the gaps left in Evans' day-to-day records.
2. Evidence from musician's memories is not infallible. Goodman and Teagarden were at first rather certain that Bix did not play on "Strut Miss Lizzie." They were there, but after decades of making so many recording sessions, their memories were wrong. Musicians like Andy Secrest say one thing, and then another. Bill Rank, apparently an emotionally and mentally solid guy, said, "That's Bix!" about "Sugar." And... he was there and given the account we have, it was a peculiarly memorable session. The majority say "No, it's NOT!" Then there were the questions on who played trombone (Rank or Mole) and piano (Riskin or Mertz). There's plenty of murky mist in everyone's memories.
3. As you pointed out so cogently, "musical grounds" (the opinions of knowledgeable second-, third- and fourth-generation listeners) come down on opposite sides often enough. We can all cite ongoing examples.
So there you have it. To mix metaphors, that metaphoric cradle may be still rockin' in the mist.
The debatable presence of Bix on "Cradle" is an unfortunate distraction from appreciating the quite admirable jazz that happens over the course of the three takes. This guy invents three very different and satisfying solos, charting a clear course of evolution, throwing light on the creative process in music. You should see the transcriptions. I lost interest in the subject when the bottom line of "is it him or not?" was all anybody cared about.
Yes it's frustrating to think you have stumbled upon a tantalising possibility of an unacknowleged Bix solo, and not have the absolute proof.I have mentioned my own "find" at least twice on this site, but, to date, there are only three or four of us who agree that it is a possible Bix item. And, mark you, this is a Sam Lanin session which he most certainly could have done; he was there in town, he had nothing else on and was not under contract to either Goldkette nor Whiteman. Furthermore, Sam Lanin confirmed that he used Bix on more than one occasion ; so not just the Broadway Bellhops tracks then ! And finally, Sam Lanin issued a cheque to him for $25 on the day of the recording. But none of this put together prove anything more than that he cannot be ruled out. The aural evidence is, I think , pretty strong. A short laid back Jazz solo, definitely reminiscent of Bix both in construction and tonal similarity, towards the end of the track. Two takes exist, both are different. The recording ? Sugar Matrix 7558 recorded 20/7/1927.(No - not the infamous one!)
The latest edition of the American Dance Band Discography list the player as Jimmy PcPartland (?). Where this came from I have no idea, as the previous edition did not list him. I believe it was pure guesswork as a) it doesn't sound like him and b) I was not aware that he ever was said to have played for Sam Lanin.
An interesting article, to be sure, and you are to be commended for following through in locating the article. I can't tell you how many times someone promises to find something, "check the files," or they don't have it handy and will check or upload something later, but they hardly ever do. What a pleasant exception this has proven to be!
I have been very busy for the last week. I was involved with the moving of the piano, with legal matters regarding the permanent loan of the piano to the Bix Museum, arranging for a trip to New York City next Th and Fr, making some additions to my article with Chris Barry about Alice and Bix, and preparing my power point presentation about Alice, Bix and Bix's piano for Aug 2, 2013 at the Bix Festival in Davenport. I have to prepare a new WBIX program for Jul 25. We will leave on Aug 1 and return on Aug 5.
And of course, I have all the work associated with maintenance of the house. I do most of the work needed, but now there is a new roof and gutters to be installed, and huge branches over the house to be removed. When I was young, I would have done the work. But at my age, a fall from a high point can be fatal. So I have been getting estimates for the various phases of the needed work.
So it is unlikely that I will be initiating new threads for the rest of the month. Of course, I will respond to postings and answer questions as needed, and I encourage forumites to post.
PS The first page of the power point presentation for Davenport.
Alice, Bix and Bix's Piano.
A Lecture by Albert Haim
Based on Research by
Chris Barry and Albert Haim
Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival.
August 1-4, 2013
Sincere thanks to several members of the Weiss family:
Joan Phyllis Fabrizio (neé Weiss), Alice Clare Kimble (neé Weiss),
Raymond Weiss, Jr., Patricia Weiss, Douglas Weiss and Loretta Weiss.
46th Street between Queens Blvd & Greenpoint Ave As part of the 2013 Sunnyside Summer Strolls event series on 46th Street, we are delighted to invite you to this year's Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Concert in Sunnyside, Queens!SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 | 12pm-7pm | FREEWe have a phenomenal lineup this year, including:12:30PM | Sunnyside Drum Corps1:00PM | MAC & Mike, the Antique DJs (antique phonograph DJ)3:00PM | Smidge Malone & Matt Dallow (trumpet/accordion)4:00PM | Svetlana & the Delancey Five (Golden Age-inspired sextet)5:30PM | Sunnyside Wolverines (top-notch pick-up band capturing the essence of Bix Beiderbecke)+ DANCE LESSONS + PHOTO BOOTH + MORE!!Dress up like it's the 1920s and bring your dancing shoes - we're putting down a dance floor in the middle of 46th Street and we want to see you on it!Bix Beiderbecke was an influential jazz musician in the 1920s who lived his final days in Sunnyside.
Dr. Eugene's Ormandy Salon Orchestra. From Rust Dance Band Disco.
Probaly includes: Leo McConville, Manny Klein, t; Tommy Dorsey, t; Jimmy Dorsey, Arnold Brilhart, Joe Crossan, reeds; Murray Kellner, Nat Brusiloff, Sam Freed, vn; Emil Stark, vc; Arthur Schutt, p; Eddie Lang, g; Hank Stern, bb and /or Joe Tarto, sb; Stan King or Chauncey Morehouse, d.
New York, Sep 17, 1929.
402953 Go to Bed OK 41300, Par R-518..
The song was sung by Nick Lucas in the 1929 film Gold Diggers of Broadway.
The complete film is lost, but fragments have been preserved.
What a lovely song! I can't stand jazz snobs who denigrate waltzes from this period and act as those it's "unfortunate" that their musical idols were "had to" play or record such songs. They obviously have no respect for the reality of a dance during the 1920's or what, evidently, some significant portion of the dancing and/or record buying public was interested in.
2013 Picnic Pops Summer Concert Series
Every Wednesday from July 10 - August 7
Presented By: The NYCB Foundation.
Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a couple of friends, and we'll provide the soundtrack for an enjoyable evening under the stars. Arrive early to picnic and stroll the gardens.
Purchase a Picnic Pops Pass online by clicking HERE. A Pops Pass is a benefit of Membership, so Join Today!
Gates open at 5:00 pm. Dance lesson at 6:30 pm. Concert starts at 7:00 pm. $10.00 General Admission; $8.00 - 62 and older; $8.00 - members; free for children 17 and under.
Wednesday, July 10 - Vince Giordano's Nighthawks
In 30 years as a bandleader, Vince Giordano has become the authority on recreating the sounds of 1920s and '30s jazz and popular music.
"I just love the energy of the early jazz," says Giordano. "I wanted to recapture some of that." Early appearances with Leon Redbone and on the Prairie Home Companion and lending his talents to Francis Ford Coppolas film The Cotton Club, led to working with Dick Hymans Orchestra in half a dozen Woody Allen soundtracks then as a bass player in Sean Penns band in Woodys Sweet and Lowdown. He and the Nighthawks were featured in Gus Van Sants film Finding Forrester, in Martin Scorseses The Aviator, Robert DeNiros film, The Good Shepherd, Tamara Jenkin's The Savages and recently Sam Mendes film: Revolutionary Road, and Away We Go; and Michael Manns film Public Enemies; plus HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
I ordinarily go to the concert/picnic. I am not sure this year. My wife had knee surgery three weeks ago, and although recovering nicely, she is not certain she can walk from the parking lot to the bandstand. We'll try, of course.
I was happy to read this nice spread in the 7/5/13 NY Times spotlighting VG, Nighthawks, and joyful dancers in NYC:
Hey young fella, you're making lots of people smile.
First the bad news: I is unlikely that I will make it to tomorrow's concert ot Vince Giordno and the Nighthawks in the Old Westbury Gardens (Long Island, NY).
Next the good news: the reason why I won't go. Bix's piano has been in storage in Farmingdale, Long Island since I purchased it last October. I was waiting to hear from the Bix Museum folk. I learned, several weeks ago, that the piano is to be shipped to the Adler Theatre in Davenport in time to be used during the Bix Festival. I made arrangements for the piano to be picked up and moved to Davenport several weeks ago. I just heard from the piano mover. He is coming tomorrow to pick up the piano in Farmingdale and I am to meet him there. The schedule is not firm and I must be available on short notice at any time tomorrow.
If the whole transaction is done early, I might be able to make it to Westbury. But, I would not count on it. Albert
I got there too late to take photos of the piano being loaded. The piano should arrive in Davenport on Jul 22.
Let's hope the piano arrives in Davenport safe and sound (no pun intended). It should be there around Jul 22, 2013. Forum friend Gerri is the contact in Davenport.
For those of us who are planning to be at the Bix Festival, I extend our thanks to you (and to Gerri) for your good offices in bringing Bix's piano home!
The concert has been rescheduled for Aug 14.
Within a period of 30 minutes we had torrential rain, thunder and lightning, a completely cloud covered sky and patches of blue. I was driving back from Farmingdale, and at one point, the rain was so heavy, I could not see and had to pull over.
Some fascinating stuff.
.... in the Out to Lunch program of Phil Schaap about Bill Challis.
My Heart Stood Still is a song written by Rodgers and Hart for the 1927 production of A Connecticut Yankee.
Pathe 36719/Perfect 14900 is a recording of the song ostensibly by the Golden Gate Orchestra. There are problems with this recording according to Rust. He writes in "Jazz Records":
"The following may have been made at the above or nearby session, or it could conceivably not be the California Rambers at all; it is labeled Golden Gate Orchestra."
My Heart Stood Still PA 36710, Per 14900
No matrix number, no date in Rust or the 78 online jazz discography.
This recording is track number 3 in The Big Broadcast # 7. What does Rich Conaty say about this recording in the liners?
Listen to the recording. (The alto sax player certainly had been listening to Tram.)
I don't think that the recording outfit is the Goldent Gate Orchestra. What do you think? If not the Golden Gate/California Ramblers, who are these guys?
The alto sax soloist on My Heart Stood Still sounds like Pete Pumiglio to me - though it's not one of his best solos - and there is a bass sax pumping away under him (and which otherwise can be heard throughout the track) that sounds very much like Spencer Clark.
Compare this track with a known California Ramblers Pathe/Perfect side from a nearby session, one on which Pumiglio and Clark are both listed as being present. Here is For My Baby:-
There's the same bass sax....Spencer Clark! It's definitely Pumiglio soloing on alto on For My Baby of course, but is it him on My Heart Stood Still? I think so.
This would seem to suggest that it is a California Ramblers side. And it is labelled as by the Golden Gate Orchestra after all! As far as I am aware, the Golden Gate Orchestra pseudonym on Pathe/Perfect was only ever assigned to the California Ramblers.
So why is there so much mystery about this recording? No matrix number, no date, Rust's commentary ...
I think it may have been the case that Brian Rust only had partial information given to him, and also probably never had the opportunity of hearing the side.
Certainly, if he'd have owned the 78, or had a chance to examine someone else's copy, he would have taken down the matrix details and these would have allowed him to date the record with reasonable accuracy. In the absence of full details he didn't want commit himself.
Is this side listed in the Ed Kirkeby papers that Steve Hester has access to? If it's listed here then we could be certain that it is a California Ramblers side. (Do the Kirkeby papers contain ALL the Ramblers' sessions?)
I asked Steve Hester in the Red Nichols facebook page. I'll report as soon as I hear from him.
Thanks to Steve Hester for the following from the facebook Red Nichols page.
Stephen Hester Kirkeby ledgers have 11/4/27 "Russin, Weil, Fellini, Clark, Pumiglio, Quealey, Ruby, Philburn, Don Moore, Lloyd 'vocal rej' " Tell Me Little Daisy remade 11/18; Is She My Girl Friend remade 11/18; Among My Souvenirs remade 11/18; Cobblestones no remake; My Heart Stood Still. Woody's notes for session: "Cobblestones by Robison on Perfect 14903 and My Heart Stood Still No remake 14900 as GGO (Golden Gate Orchestra)."12 hours ago ·
Stephen Hester Kirkeby ledgers for 11/18/27: "Fallon, Duffy, Philburn, P. Hart, Russin, Weil, Fellini, Quealey, Pumiglio,Clark. 'remakes' " Tell Me Little Daisy; Is She My Girl Friend (107911); Among My Souvenirs (107913); For My Baby.12 hours ago ·
Albert Haim Thanks very much, Steve. That is terrific information. Let me digest it.12 hours ago ·
Stephen Hester Apparently either Kirkeby wasn't happy with 11/4 or Perfect/Pathe was having trouble. Woody and dad made no other comments about Cobblestones, and I don't remember hearing it. They both think it's possible that My Heart Stood Still was from 11/4 and was released and not remade. I can't get to the crates to see if it is packed or any other further notes they made.· Edited ·
Stephen Hester Dad and Woody were working on a California Ramblers discography to publish in Record Research. They had a dozen or so articles written that were never published and have drafts for several others...including 1929-1935.
Stephen Hester Between the 11/4/27 and 11/18/27 were the following: 11/14/27 for Okeh; 11/14/27 remake of 10/31/27 JC Flippen for Pathe; and 11/16/27 for Okeh. The Flippen session: "11/14/27 Clark, Russin, Quealey, Fellini Pathe remake 10/31 'FLIPPEN not CR' OH My Operation". For the 10/31 session that was rejected add Pumiglio. Why am I mentioning this? Many believe that Red Nichols is on Oh My Operation, but he is not. Another interesting session took place 11/3/27 for Cameo: "11/3/27 Cameo Rusin, Weil, Fellini, Clark, Pumiglio, Quealey Ruby, Philburn Acc Viola McCoy. All titles rejected. Sister Kate, Good Man Is Hard To Find, I Ain't Got Nobody".11 hours ago
Stephen Hester For Rollini fans a memo entry: "6/30/27 Rollini at Pathe all day. Hanshaw."11 hours ago
Stephen Hester It really is a shame that Woody and dad never did publish more of their research. I have seen in the files drafts of Miff Mole, Sam Lanin, etc. etc. When both dad and Woody read the draft of the first 3 chapters of the Nichols book, they both told me to finish it and if I wanted work on the other projects they started.11 hours ago ·
Stephen Hester Before logging off...CR recorded three sessions of Christmas records backing "Mixed Quartet" 10/20/27 Pathe; 10/26/27 Okeh; 10/27/27 Pathe. (including for the Okeh session Rusin, Weil, Quealey, Fellini, Clark, Pumiglio, Philburn, and one that is unreadable.)10 hours ago ·
Albert Haim Thank you for all that, Steve. Clearly, Rust's speculation about the band that recorded "My Heart Stood Still" had no basis. It was, indeed, the California Ramblers.
Thanks Albert and Steve for the comprehensive, detailed information. As you say, there seems to have been little basis for Brian Rust calling into question the attribution of "My Heart Stood Still" as a California Ramblers side, though I do understand his hesitancy, bearing in mind the limited details he had when compiling the entry for Jazz Records (and the fact that he almost certainly hadn't heard the side).
Neither Rust nor the 78 online disco gives an exact date for the Hanshaw-Rollini session. With Steve's notation from Kirkeby's ledgers, we now can asssign that session to June 30, 1927.
A remarkable series of recordings by four of the most talented musicians of the 1920s: Rollini, Venuti, Lang and Berton. Add the incomparable Annette and you have an event of historic proportions with sublime music.
I'm Somebody's Somebody Now.
I Like What You Like.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd-dX8fMjeE (1927, not 1932)
Ain't That A Grand And Glorious Feeling?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVPneS-CBU4 (echoes of Debussy in the intro)
Who-oo? You-oo. That's Who.
Under the Moon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5WO0kATepM (1927, not 1932)
The You Tube poster has it wrong: it's Bobby Davis performing the alto sax solo on "For My Baby"; of course Quealey on trumpet, and I presume Al Duffy on violin. A wonderful side, BTW! (John Ryan is the vocalist).
Also agree with Nick that the Golden Gate side of "My Heart Stood Still" is indeed the Cal. Ramblers.
Bobby Davis was a member of the New Yorkers beginning in Sep 1927. He had left the California Ramblers and had been replaced by Pete Pumiglio. Rust gives Bobby Davis's last session with the CR on Aug 26, 1927. From the until the end of 1927 Rust gives Pete Pumiglio in the sessions of Sep 19, Sep 27, Sep 30, Nov 4, Nov 16, Nov 18, Dec 6, and Dec 28. Jimmy Dorsey was added for the Oct 7 session.
I listened again to the alto sax here, and it does indeed seem to be Pumiglio. Around this time Davis and Pumiglio share some of the same characteristics at times, and it gets a little hard to differentiate between them - but the solo does favor Pumiglio.
I posted before I had a chance to see your correction.
Pumiglio it is.
An interesting article in the online journal "Current Research in Jazz."
- In Ken Burns' jazz biographies page, http://www.pbs.org/jazz/biography/ Bennie Moten is not mentioned.
- In Geoffrey Ward's "Jazz" (companion book to Burns' jazz pbs series)Bennie Moten is mentioned a few times but there is no essay on him or any biographical information.
You might argue that this is the result of Ken Burns' limited knowledge and understanding of jazz. However, Gunther Schuller ("Early Jazz") has very negative comments about the early Bennie Moten Band. Moten is mentioned only once (and in just a list of "selected musicians") in Gary Giddins' and Scott Deveaux's "Jazz." Moten is barely mentioned in Ted Gioia's "History of Jazz" or Alyn Shipton's "A New History of Jazz." Most of the time, Moten is cited because of the outstanding musicians he had in his band such as as Walter Page, Hot Lips Page, Eddie Durham, Ben Webster, Buster Smith, Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing and because his band was the precursor of Count Basie's band..
I think that Bennie Moten had a terrific band in the second half of the 1920s. What I want to do here is show the evolution of the band in the 1920s and to bring in some of Bennie Moten's recordings that I like very much. But before, I give a link to the Wikipedia article about Moten, concise, well-written and very informative.
- The Stone Age. Sep 1923.
Elephant's Wobble. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6B_WwM0Beo
- The Middle Age. Nov 24, 1924. The strong brass bass beat is already present.
- The Renaissance. Dec 23, 1926. The typical Moten sound is already here.
Yazoo Blues. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQfpTpC6LNs
Kansas City Shuffle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzlbK9Tbwn8
- The Fulfillement. June 12, 1927.
Moten Stomp. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fx-qoRS-OE
- Another Mature Moten. Sep 7, 1928.
Kansas City Breakdown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFzj027XyF0
Two of My Personal Favorites.
In My Opinion A Tribute to Bix and Tram (with two, count them, two pieces of Tram's Singin' the Blues). Jul 17, 1929.
Rite Tite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eRWoS_4Mew
A great arrangement of Pinkard's Sugar. Jun 1, 1927. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtBd6l43Tvk
If I have time (and get enough courage) I will go on into the 1930s.
Asking jazz' academic and critical community to appreciate Moten is asking an awful lot. To them his music is not fully developed, only a stage on the way to something immortal, pure and transcendent. Remember that in the romantic notion of art, greatness is not only rare, but concentrated in certain times, places, and practices.
Welcome and apologies in case you posted before.
Sketch(click to enlarge)
The soundtrack was fantastic. (Two friends of the forum were members of the orchestra that recreated Bix's music, Vince Giordano and David Sager.)
I first saw this film in Paris. I arrived at the theatre towards the end of the movie and heard from the lobby Tom Pletcher doing Bix's "Singin' the Blues." I had goose pimples.
Scenes from the Italian version.
The soundtrack CD
Bix: An Interpretation of a Legend.RCA PD 74766.
This is the original soundtrack from the 1990 film. The soundtrack is conducted and directed by Bob Wilber. The musical producer is Lino Patruno. The musicians are Tom Pletcher; Bob Wilber; Kenny Davern; David Sager; Vince Giordano; Andy Stein; Keith Nichols; Lino Patruno; Walter Ganda; Fabrizio Cattaneo; Cesare Poggi; Fabiano Pellini; Marcello Rosa; Al, Claudio and Mario Corvini; Eric Daniel; and Enrico Fineschi.
Here is track # 11 from the CD, recorded by a big band. I will give the names only of a few, selected musicians: Tom Pletcher, cornet; David Sager, trombone; Bob Wilber, clarinet; Keith Nichols, piano; Lino Patruno, guitar; Vince Giordano, bass; Andy Stein, violin. Recorded in Rome on May 15 and 18, 1990. Tom's solo is perhaps his best recorded solo.
I never saw the film on the screen, only a commercially issued video tape, which, I believe, did not include the scene in the Gennett studio. All new to me! Pretty neat.
David, I truly enjoyed this film and have it in my collection, but it is affirming to hear what you say about the absence of the Gennett scene. I do not think it is included in my DVD, either.
This movie was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the music, I enjoyed the scenes that caught the essence of the era and what it must have been like back in the day. I enjoyed, obviously, seeing some of the Davenport scenes and recognizing people I knew in "bit" parts.
I didn't appreciate the over-emphasis on Bix's drinking (he was not late not drunk at his sister's wedding for example) and wish they wouldn't have strayed so far from Bix's actual story. If you know the story well you kind of cringe at some of the inaccuracies (Bix meeting Hoagy as they both attended Lake Forest etc., etc.)
I wish they would have included Bix playing "In A Mist" at a packed Carnegie Hall. That had to have been a thrill for his parents. I think the strain between Bix and his Dad was overplayed also.
In summary, I'm glad the movie was made and I wish I would have known that house could have been purchased for $35,000 if I read what Albert provided us with correctly!
See my review of the film in the main bixography website.
There is a short Gennett scene on YouTube of the Wolverines trying to record "Jazz Me Blues" and being interrupted by a train. The continuity seems strange, however: It begins with a man posted near the tracks to watch for a train, followed by an approaching steam locomotive and cars. The lookout turns and trots back into the Gennett building. The scene cuts to the sound engineers preparing the disk and counting down to signal the band to begin.(All of this in Italian, of course.) Then the lookout appears, the train is heard, and the recording director (Ezra Wickenmeyer, presumably?) opens the recording both and yells "Stop!" (in English, strangely).
The film then cuts to Bloomington, Indiana, with the Wolverines at a dance, playing "Since My Best Girl Turned Me Down." (a song by Ray Lodwig and Howdy Quicksell, not written until 1927.) This sort of anachronism bothers me just because it shows sloppiness in script writing that could have been avoided. (Granted, it was easy for me to check, because we now have Google)
Some of the "co-eds" in the dance scene have ponytails, which may have been around in that period, but I can't recall seeing anyone dressed for a dance with a ponytail in photos from the 1920s!
Similarly, another video clip shows the "Frankie Trumbauer Orchestra" advertised on a marquee, and we know that in Bix's time, the band was solely a studio group.
The music is superb, spot on, though. And some attempt was made to find actors who had some resemblance to the musicians.
Debbie, I don't know if this is the Gennett scene you all were discussing. If it is, you can look it up by the title "Jazz E Cinema BIX soggetto de Avati e Patruno" and look through the choices.
Note that the video of the month is one of the many terrific videos coming from the creative mind of Lisa Ryan, a friend of the Bixography.
My Favourite Things
Trombone player and bandleader Tony Milliner shares with us another of his favourite tracks.
Tony s favourite track this month comes from guitarist Ry Cooders 1978 album Jazz. The track is Ry Cooder playing Bix Beiderbeckes Davenport Blues. Click here for the album track, it is quite short, just over 2 minutes, but one commentator calls it exquisite.
The album, released on the Warner Bros. label was produced by Ry Cooder and Joseph Byrd who also arranged and conducted. The recording has a long personnel list across the tracks, three of which were Bix Beiderbeck numbers (In A Mist and Flashes were also featured).
Click here for the full personnel list (including Earl Hines and Red Callender) and other details. Tony Milliner picks out for particular mention David Sherr (bass clarinet), Harvey Pittel (alto), Tom Collier (vibes) and Tom Pedrini (bass).
We can also watch a video of Ry Cooder and the band playing the number to a receptive audience, although the sound and picture quality are not so good - click here. The Andre Previn lookalike on marimba is Tom Collier.
People tend to think of In A Mist as being cornettist Bix Beiderbeckes notable piano composition, but his tune Flashes ('A Modern Composition For Piano') is hauntingly beautiful. This months video is a real find. The piano is played by Bernd Lohtz set to a slide show of pictures of Bixs early life in Davenport, Iowa. He is instantly recognisable as a child, and I for one, did not know all these pictures existed.
Click here for this month's video.
One commentator says:
'Beautiful montage. My friend introduced it to me. She told me it was her "End of Summer, Beginning of Fall" song. We were sitting with our cafe mochas in the Nordic Bakery just off Golden Square in Soho, London. We indulged in people watching as they passed by the big window in the wet blustery day outside. Our tummies warm with cocoa and caffeine and the smell of cinnamon rolls. She was right, that really captured the moment.'
Pianist Bernd Lhotzky plays "Flashes, "Candlelights," and "In the Dark" at a slower tempo, opening out the chords so they can be appreciated. He and Dick Hyman both have interpreted these pieces similarly and beautifully, lingering over Bix's beautiful chords, in contrast to Jess Stacy's recordings, played faithfully at a similar pace to Bix's recording of "In A Mist."
We've discussed at length the topic of whether or not such interpretations as Hyman's, Sutton's, and Lhotzky's are legitimate, "as written." They all have their merits, but for non-musicians, these slower ones really bring out the beauty of the pieces. They are haunting.
Bix left us just enough of his pianism on record to give a fair idea of what performance attitude he had in mind for his compositions. For me, his best and most characteristic-sounding piano is on "For No Reason at All in C." He sounds completely at ease, just knocking around with Tram and Eddie, and plays at the same tempo at which he tackled "In A Mist" for OKeh a few months later.
He swings with a propulsive beat on all his piano records. His touch is neat, unhurried, crisp, with a clear attack and release, and easy on the Legato. Not much pedal, either. When he slows for the coda on "In a Mist," he does so with a minimum of fuss, not dragging it out, but slowing just enough to show that it IS the coda. In short, Bix was a no-nonsense pianist who didn't indulge in sweeping Romanticism, either in tempo or attitude.
On the records of both "C" and "Mist" he deploys these rapid-fire eighth-note runs of big extended chords, like fireworks. He told Edna Fischer, a pianist I met in San Francisco in the '80s, who had an "unforgettable" piano lesson with him in 1928, that the idea of these rapid runs of big chords was to produce a cumulative, meta-harmonic effect, bigger than the sum of its parts. He called it "persistence of hearing" - according to Edna - which he likened to "persistence of vision," which makes a succession of still photos into a Moving Picture. "Candlelights" also has a couple of these "P. o. H." chordal runs.
The individual chord voicings Bix devised are often so fascinating all by themselves that one can't blame Ralph Sutton et al for lingering over them, squeezing out all the harmonic juice they can get. Bix left a treasure trove of these voicings that are applicable to myriad musical situations, a veritable compendium of "out there" harmony. A few of them, such as the climactic, lingering, nearly atonal, stillness that happens near the end of the third section of "Candlelights," he cribbed straight from the Debussy Preludes.
Of course his piano pieces are open to every kind of interpretation, and who's to say which is "right" ? But I can tell from the records that there was a peculiar and transcendent "Bix Effect" on piano that also permeates his published pieces. If you play them too slowly, rubato-ey, with too much pedal - you'll never hear it.
P.S. and n. b.: Jess Stacy said Bix at the keys was fast.
--what he does with Big Boy. Tour de force hardly describes it. He just swoops down and pounds that keyboard with such flourishing vigor -- of course we all love the novelty of Bix quickly going from piano to cornet and showing he excels at both. It's as if someone could throw anything Bix's way and he'd play it for all he was worth.
I also prefer Bix's tunes at a slower tempo -- especially "In The Dark."
I think pianists, arrangers, and such knowledgeable people can likely take in what is played at a faster pace. I have to say that I like listening to Stacy's version of the three pieces much more since I've heard them quite a few times played more slowly. I guess it's the training wheels effect (not for you, Laura--for me).
I just finished listening to Ralph Sutton's 1950 recordings of the Bix piano compositions, which are quite frankly my favorite versions of them (aside, of course, from Bix's own "In a Mist" recording). I love Jess Stacy but I think he could have done much more justice to "in the Dark" and "Flashes" if he'd been able to devote a 78 rpm side to each composition instead of having to tear through them at warp speed to fit them both on one side.