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.
Thanks, but the visit to the Big Apple will be ....
.... tomorrow and Tuesday. I'll let you know how it went.
Chris and I went through the manuscript in detail, added a few things and modified a few other things. We sent the revised version to the editor on Friday and I am pretty sure it will be in the Spring 2013 edition of the Journal of Jazz Studies. Nothing new about Bix and Alice; mostly about Alice.
The evening in Sofia's restaurant with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks was fabulous. Vince's hospitality was immenselyI appreciated, as were his kind words about my Bix website. The band is doing so well, great musicianship, the guys are relaxed, enjoying to no end what they are playing. And I am amazed at Vince's multi-tasking abilities: introducing each song with a fascinating bit of jazz history, playing bass sax, tuba, string bass, doing vocals, cracking jokes, keeping the evening going smoothly, talking individually to most of the members in the audience. And the versatilty of the band is remarkable: dance band music, jazz, rumba, waltz, big band, dixieland, you name it: the talented Nighthawks can play it all with great gusto. How does Vince do it? Of course, Sofia's gigs are not all there is to Vince. What about his music for the Boardwalk Empire HBO series and in soundtracks of movies? Concerts in several venues, etc, etc. Vince's generosity whenever and wherever needed is legendary. Some one said in his blog that Vince is a National Treasure. Indeed, he has a variety of unusual talents. He is one of my idols, and I don't have many.
On Tuesday we had lunch in one of the best French restaurants in New York City.
Personnel from Rayno's biography of Whiteman, Vol. I. Left to right: Seated: Mike Pingitore, Sam Lewis, Tommy Gott, George Unger, Henry Busse, Ferde Grofe, Hale Byers, Morris Speinson, Donald Clark, Herman Hand, Ross Gorman. Standing: Harold McDonald, Jack Barsby, Paul Whiteman, Phil Ohman.
Albert, Reidsville's Rockingham Theatre is a crackerbox compared to the Kallet but is built (and well-preserved for the most part) generally along Kallet lines. Erected in 1929 as the third theatre of a chain (not sure which) equipped for sound (the first two were in Los Angeles and Milwaukee, I believe), the inside of the theatre looks a lot like a gingerbread house. Very colorful, with some slight plaster damage. It's still got a large ledge in front of the screen from which I'm told certain live performances by locals originated AND still has its orchestra pit, albeit boxed over. It's owned by a fella who survives by showing 5 dollar movies.
While on the subject of theatres, an article ran about thirty years ago in the Danville Register and Bee regarding a pharmacy on the main drag in town that showed silents in the early teens in a former life and still had the screen set into one of its walls. It was very small.
Hope your birthday went well. I didn't get a call, so I assume you didn't land in jail for celebrating too strenuously.
To be sure, I have only heard a couple handfulls of records on which Charlie Teagarden played (on the Mosaic Bix/Tram/Teagarden set),but from the tunes I heard my impression of Charlie was of a guy with a nice tone and without overly inventive solo construction who sounds absolutely NOTHING like our guy Bix. This had to be a publicity man's puff piece in the 'super colossal tremendous' movie-making tradition.
An Interview of Jimmy McPartland (uploaded Feb 23, 2004) Richard "Dixie Dick" Kammeier had a traditional jazz program -Dixieland Brunch- on Tampa's community radio station, WMNF. On February 3, 1982, Dick interviewed Jimmy McPartland. A few months ago, Dick sent my a tape of the program. I uploaded two excerpts from the program. 1. Jimmy tells about Bix buying him (Jimmy) a cornet. 2. Jimmy tells about his recording of "In A Mist" for his "Shades of Bix Album." The recording follows the interview.
Jimmy McPartland, 83, Cornetist Who Played Chicago Jazz, Dies
By JOHN S. WILSON Published: March 14, 1991
The cornetist Jimmy McPartland, one of the originators of the brash 1920's variant of Dixieland that became known as Chicago-style jazz, died yesterday at his home in Port Washington, L.I. He would have been 84 years old tomorrow.
He died of lung cancer, his wife, the jazz pianist Marian McPartland, said.
Mr. McPartland's playing carried some echoes of the legendary cornetist Bix Beiderbecke throughout his career, although it was colored by his own buoyant personality. When, at age 17, he replaced Beiderbecke in a Chicago jazz band called the Wolverines, Beiderbecke told him: "Kid, I like the way you play. You sound like me, but you don't copy me."
Mr. McPartland, who was born in Chicago in 1907, was one of several youngsters at Austin High School who hung out in a candy store to listen to the jazz records of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, all of whom were playing in Chicago at the time. This Austin High Gang included such future jazz stars as the saxophonist Bud Freeman, the clarinetist Frank Teschemacher and the drummer Dave Tough.
The gang soon expanded to include some non-Austin High musicians: Eddie Condon, Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. Their records in the late 1920's wereidentified as Chicago jazz. Doubled in Broadway Bands
In 1927, Mr. McPartland joined Ben Pollack's band, which included Goodman, Freeman and the trombonists Glenn Miller and Jack Teagarden. For two years they played at the Park Central Hotel (now the Omni-Park) in Manhattan, often doubling into the pit bands of Broadway shows. In the 1930's, Mr. McPartland returned to Chicago where he organized a group called the Embassy Four with his brother, Dick, a guitarist. For several years, he led a group at the Three Deuces, a nightclub, where he was a band leader, singer and master of ceremonies. He was a member of Jack Teagarden's big band when he joined the Army in World War II.
After combat duty in the Normandy invasion, he joined a U.S.O. touring show, during which he met and married an English pianist, Marian Page. When he returned to the United States in 1946, he formed a jazz group with his wife as pianist. After five years, she formed her own trio at Mr. McPartland's urging so she would not be restricted to his kind of music. Acted on the Side
In the 1950's, Mr. McPartland added acting to his talents, starting with a television fantasy about a jazz musician, "The Magic Horn," which led to a role in "Showboat" at the Summer Theater at Jones Beach and a recorded version of "The Music Man."
Mr. McPartland's first marriage ended in divorce. He and Marian McPartland were divorced in 1967, but remained good friends and neighbors. They were remarried two weeks ago.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two grandchildren, Donna Kassel of Paris and Douglas Kassel of San Francisco. Private funeral services are to be held in Chicago. Memorial services are to be held later at St. Peter's Church in Manhattan and at the University of Chicago, to which Mr. McPartland donated his memorabilia.
- A couple of comments: Rudy only mentions white "hot" musicians. Understandable at the time: the market for "race" records was distinct from that for the majority of audiences, and Rudy was concerned about "the majority of people who buy records and sheet music."
- Rudy mentioned four musicians, all favorites in the forum: Red, Tram (last name misspelled), Eddie, and Joe. Indeed hot. The ones not mentioned are referred to as "other masters of that style." Should I be surprised that Benny Goodman is not mentioned among the other masters"?.
- I agree that hot music was great. But the dance music played by many of the outstanding bands of the 1920s (and 1930s) was also great. Sweet is not necessarily inferior. In fact, some of the great bands of the 1920s and 30s were dance bands and produced outstanding music, and if it was also popular, what is wrong with that?
That's a very interesting comment by Vallee. He puts down the majority of music purchasers while providing his own apologia for playing watered-down jazz for lowbrow listeners, all the while pointing out that they are a group to which he doesn't belong). Still, he was no doubt being honest about the way he saw his listeners. (As H. L. Mencken famously said, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
It is ironic, however, that those musicians who played "hot" and kept the faith over the decades are the ones that are revered, listened to, and emulated today.
I was particularly amused by Vallee's comment that "to play 'hot' music one must have brass." Did he mean "brass" in the sense of brass instruments or "brass" in its colloquial meaning as a synonym for courage or guts?
When Vallée took his contractual vacations from his national radio show in 1937, he insisted his sponsor hire Louis Armstrong as his substitute (this was the first instance of an African-American fronting a national radio program) [from wiki]
I like Rudy Vallee's singing and music. He was one of the "big three" on the early 1930s, Bing, Russ and Rudy. I am sure most of you are familiar with the delightful 1932 cartoon "Crosby, Colombo and Vallee."
Here is a video of the song Vallee recorded twice, as mentioned by Vince, You'll Do It Some Day (So Why Not Now?) (with the inevitable top hat used by clarinetists). This comes from the 1929 Paramount one-reeler "Radio Rhythm." Very hot stuff.
An older Rudy Vallee (he took the name Rudy because of his endless admiration of Rudy Wiedoeft) sang the title song in "The Night They Raided Minsky," a movie I like very much. Here is Rudy singing the title song
Apparently, when Rudy Vallee was older he wanted the street he lived on in Hollywood Hills to be re-named Rue de Vallee. It is said that his neighbours objected strongly, perhaps not surprisingly! Even if this is apocryphal (and I suspect it is), the story is not atypical of Vallee's egocentric behaviour!
He kept one of Rudy Wiedoeft's gold-plated C-melody saxophones attached to a wall in his house.
While he was a member of the Savoy Havana Band in 1924/1925, it is said that his fellow sidemen discouraged him from becoming a vocalist. I have found no evidence of this, and anyway he was hired as a saxophonist. I asked Van Phillips - who was also a saxophonist in the Savoy Havana Band at the same time - about this rumour, and he categorically denied it, but said that Vallee was inclined to show off and exaggerate. I suppose it is possible that Vallee started the rumour himself, though I have no evidence that this was the case.
It's always been hard for me to listen to this version of "Rockin' Chair," the one time Bix recorded with an African-American musician, without reflecting on the tragedy Bix and Bubber Miley had in common. Both were alcoholics who drank themselves out of jobs with highly prestigious bands, Bix with Whiteman's and Miley with Duke Ellington's, and a little over two years after they made this record together, both had passed away.
Incidentally, I've read Bix's solo on "Barnacle Bill, the Sailor," from the same date as "Rockin' Chair," described as a relatively weak effort from his later days. And yet I remember years ago playing it for someone who'd never heard Bix before and had only a dim idea of the Bix legend. "Who is THAT?" my friend exclaimed, blown away by the power and swing of Bix's horn over a rhythm section driven by Gene Krupa's drums. It remains one of my favorite Bix records!
Nice crisp images, an early Vitaphone, circa January 1928. Earl Burtnett and his Orchestra work through "What'll You Do?", "The Song is Ended", and "Tiger Rag". Especially fun to see the drummer doing his thing.
Seems like the film was discussed on the forum in the past, but may not have been available. Enjoy.
Those guys had a lot of panache. I was impressed that the three young fellows in the string section were game enough to attempt that treble harmonization -- it wasn't wonderful, but one had to admire them for trying. Really, this Vitaphone came off quite wonderfully --- some Vitaphones are wincingly awkward, but this one was a kick straight through.
I dont know if there was anyone else that had a sound and tone like Bix.I think that his sound was lost to that time period.No one ever played with the feeling that Bix express on his cornet.He was the greatest of all time.
I love this place.Yes i think Bix tone was truly unique.He had a way of hitting a note with a certain color and pulse and the right emotion that sent a message.No one could do that like he did.My mother was Bunnys oldest daughter. Her name was Patrica Slavin.She had some of Bix records and we used to listen to him together.She loved Bix too.
From the Schenectady Gazette, Mar 13, 1982, courtesy of Steve Zalusky in facebook.
McPartland recalls, "Right from the start, we always leaned toward the lovely tone of Bix. He had a beauty of tone and phrasing that made you feel emotions. He had sort of an affectionate tone, a nice, round full tone. It's what we tried to emulate."
Jimmy was on to something in his description of Bix's tone. There is an intimacy in it, as if he is speaking directly to you, leaving you with the sense that you've had a warm conversation with a good friend in which you were really open to each other.
Glenda, what a perfect way to put it. There truly was such a confiding tone to his playing, whether it was melancholy (I'm Coming, Virginia; I'll Be a Friend With Pleasure) or cheerful (Clarinet Marmalade; From Monday On; Thou Swell; Ostrich Walk) or strutting (Lonely Melody; Big Boy; Changes; My Pretty Girl Stomp; Davenport Blues) or sexy (Blue River on Okeh; 1924 version of Riverboat Shuffle; There Ain't No Man Worth the Salt My Tears)-- he put such distinctive and personalized emotion into it, vital and sparkling with elan.
The Sudhalter and Evans book on Beiderbecke has a short section, near the end of the book, about substituting the third valve for the first two. That alternate fingering was a major ingredient to Beiderbecke's tone, my impression.
When I practice trumpet, it's interesting to hear different tones of the same note, obtained with alternative valve combinations. Am unsure of which English terms apply best to these subtle tone differences... color or shading perhaps. Middle "E" as an example (concert "D", a staple of Bb playing)... can play it open (no valves depressed), or with the first two valves (minutely sharp), or with the third valve (perceptibly flat, and apt to generate that soft 'pop' Sudhalter writes of). And each of these three tones, all the same trumpet note, offering a different shade via the valve choice. Third-valve alternates a favorite option of your blog subject.
At 6:00am, London Time, Mike Durham passed away. I found out the news from Frans Sjostrom, Allan Walton, Paul Adams and Jonathan David Holmes . This is a very sad day for the jazz community, losing a person who loved and cared about jazz music everyday of his life. He also encouraged and supported young musicians li...ke Dave Bock, Andy Schumm, Michael McQuaid and myself by including us in his festival.
The Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Festival will be a little different this year without him there in person, but I know he'll be there in spirit loving every second of the music being played all weekend in his memory.
Mike and I were close friends, knowing each other for many years. We played together in Davenport at the Bix Festival with Spats Langham and His Rhythm Boys, performed together at Phil Pospychala's Tribute to Bix Fest in Racine, and we helped send-off our dear friend, Rich Johnson, when he was in hospice in Davenport.
I've never met a more caring, giving and all-around gentleman than Mike Durham. It is truly a sad day for the jazz world, but also for those of us who lost a close and dear friend. My family sends their thoughts and prayers to Patti and the family. He will be missed!
Mike Durham, Michel Bastide (both cornets), David Sager (trombone), Norman Field (clarinet), Jean-Pierre Dubois (banjo), Henry Lemaire (string bass), Jon Penn (piano), Nick Ward (drums), Frans Sjostrom (bass sax)
Having found him in the 1940 census, I believe that the Weston Vaughan who lived from 1903 to 1978 is indeed the dance band vocalist. The census gives his age as 37--one year off if he was born in August 1903, but census ages aren't always an exact science. The Weston Vaughan in 1940 was born in Ohio and was working as a musician. The California Death Index also shows a Weston Homer Vaughan born in Ohio with the dates shown above. Perhaps not absolutely conclusive, but quite probable.
Vaughan not only has a Bix connection; he apparently has an Andrews Sisters connection as well. A couple of Andrews Sisters biographies cite him as the vocalist on the Leon Belasco orchestra's recording of "Turn Off the Moon" (Brunswick 7863, 18 March 1937). The other three sides made by the Belasco orchestra that day were by all three sisters or Patty Andrews as a solo. However, the Online 78 Discography shows Patty as the vocalist on "Turn Off the Moon". The record is quite rare and I don't have a ready way to confirm who is correct.
A couple of Billboard issues from late 1942 and early 1943 show him performing with Judy Whitney as an organ/guitar team in the Chicago area (if indeed this is the same Wes Vaugh[a]n). That's about all I've found so far.
Leon Belasco and his orchestra return to New York and CBS broadcasting tonight after an absence of one year. The Belasco band is going into the Hotel New Yorker, and its air schedule will run to three broadcasts each week. The Andrew Sisters, Wes Vaughn and Smith Howard are to be heard with the band.
From the Binghamton Press, Aug 19, 1927
Do you recognize the name Dewey Bergman? He was one of the two pianists for the Goldkette band in 1924. The other was Paul Mertz. See the photo of the Goldkette band with the two pianists.
l to r : Paul Mertz; Joe Venuti; Doc Ryker, Fuzzy Farrar; Irish Henry; Tex Brewster; Jimmy Dorsey; Charles Horvath; Bill Rank; Tommy Dorsey; Don Murray; Howdy Quicksell; Dewey Bergman.
Bix wasn't the only jazz genius with whom Weston Vaughan recorded as vocalist. He appeared on Artie Shaw's first session as a bandleader, in New York on June 11, 1936, playing guitar on all four songs Shaw recorded that day and singing on "I Used to Be Above Love" and "No Regrets" (one month before Shaw re-recorded the latter song as a session musician with Billie Holiday). The instrumentals Shaw recorded on the 6/11/36 session (with Vaughan on rhythm guitar) were "Japanese Sandman" and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody," indicating that even that early in his career as a bandleader Shaw preferred to record great old songs rather than mediocre new ones.
Reading those comments by Louis shows his genuine admiration of Bix and his music. It's said that after Louis's death, many of Bix's recordings were to be found in his extensive collection in his apartment.
Yet the Bix story is all the more astonishing when one considers that this young man, born in Mid West corn country, of a well to do middle class family of German origin had absolutely no connection with the world of jazz in any way whatsoever.
Had he been born twenty years earlier or twenty years later we may never have even heard that music or the name Beiderbecke at all. What if brother Bernie, on buying that Victrola with his army pay off, had just bought home a collection of waltzes, mazurkas and military band records? Would young Bix had ended up becoming what his folks were expecting of him? A Lawyer, Physician or perhaps carrying on working in a senior position in his father's Company?
So young Bix was to be of his time, as if ordained, by pure chance he just happened to be born at the right moment in the right era to go on not only to discover jazz, but to create it in his own style and tone that influenced musicians, both those in the States who heard him in person and overseas through his recordings. By the late twenties, in the world of "hot music", trumpet players everywhere were trying to play "Bix style", and many are still doing so today.
Like many original artistic talents in history, he made himself known, reached a climax in his field and, as so often happens, sometimes tragically due of their own making, suffer an early demise.
I will leave early this afternoon to attend the ....
.... Bix and Louis concert in the Flushing Town Hall.
I'll be back early tomorrrow afternoon in time to celebrate Bix's 110th birthday. Happy birthday Bix! You completely changed my life. I used to be obssessed with chemistry research, now I am obssessed with Bix research.
RIP, friend Bix.
Listen to Bix doing his improvisations on "In My Merry Oldsmobile" beginning at 1:56. (First, a bit of Murray at 1:46 and then Bix totally takes over and eclipses everyone else. May I speculate? Maybe Murray started his improvisation, Bix liked what he heard and irrepressibly took over).
We're entertaining my husband's sister and nephew this weekend and I'm playing PLENTY of Bix between chats -- Volume 1 of Bix Restored, then after our dinner out last evening watched the documentary Ain't Nobody Played Like Him Yet.
Tonight when they leave I'll listen to some Whiteman pieces and watch the Interpretation of a Legend movie. . . . why not. The music, the clothes, and the guys are swell.
Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong had many things in common. Here are a few:
-They both made their first recording with Gennett
-They both recorded with Bing Crosby
-They both had a major role in introducing the solo in jazz
-They both lived an died in Queens
Which brings me to last nights concert in the FlushingTown Hall, Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong: Back Home Again in Queens. A small group of highly talented musicians paying homage to the two jazz giants.
Randy Sandke trumpet
Harvey Tobbs trombone
Dan Levinson reeds
Mark Shane piano
Vince Giordano bass sax, tuba, string bass, vocal
Kenny Washington drums
The concert had two parts:
1. Bix 2. Louis
Part 1: The instrumentation was identical to that of Bix and His Gang: trumpet, trombone, bass sax, clarinet, piano, drums. In general the band followed quite closely the arrangements in the old recordings. Here is a listing of the tunes the band played. At the Jazz Band Ball, Jazz Me Blues, Goose Pimples, Medley Singin the Blues/Im Coming Virginia, In the Dark (piano solo), Sorry, Royal Garden Blues, Rhythm King, Because My Baby Dont Mean Maybe Now. The recreations were fantastic. The original recordings were made nearly a century ago; nevertheless, Randy and the Gang played the old tunes with the sensibility and feeling brought in by the original musicians. I think this is quite remarkable. I have known Dan, Randy, and Vince for many years and heard them play in a great variety of venues. I find it quite amazing that they get better as time goes by.
Part 2. The tunes were: StruttinBasin Street Blues, Muskat Ramble, My Monday Date, with Some Barbecue, Cornet Chop Suey, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans, Swing That Music. The contrast between Bixs and Louiss styles was quite evident: Bix bittersweet, introspective, Louis loud, extrovert. Again, the feel of the 1920s was brought back with great verve and authenticity. I find extraordinary how the musicians could adapt themselves to such different styles.
Randy acted as mc, introducing the numbers and providing historical context and fascinating stories in an easy going manner and a good sense of humor. The evening went fast and culminated with a Q & A session and a celebration of Bixs birthday with cake. The audience was thrilled and quite responsive. A great evening of music in tribute of two of the most innovative musicians of the 1920s played as it should be played by some of the best contemporary jazz musicians.
PS Something was wrong with my camera and all pictures I took came out blurry and horrible. Here are photos from Chris Barry's facebook page. Chris and I sat together at the concert and had a lot to talk about. We have corresponded a lot and collaborated in our Alice and Bix article. It was the first time we actually saw each other in person. Good to meet the "real" Chris Barry in addition to the virtual one I have corresponded for a year!
Is it my imagination or could the dedication be, in fact, signed B. Beiderbecke? One of my friends is very good at cleaning and restoring images. I asked him what can he do, if anything, with this image. He will respond on Monday. In the meantime, is there anyone who has a clearer print of the photo with the dedication? And if so, is it legible?
My friend could not do much with the image. He identified the first and last lines as "To George" and L. B. Beiderbecke.
It turns out that a clear image of the photo with the dedication is included in a soon to be published article by Chris Barry. Here is the transcription:
To George -
my only wish
is that I may play
with you as long in
the future as I have
in the past.
L. B. Beiderbecke
"George" is George Johnson, one of Bix's fellow musicans in the Wolverine Orchestra.
Isn't that a nice dedication? Bix did not graduate from high school, but his writing (except for the spelling) is of excellent quality and has a poetic turn to it. Remember the dedications in the sheet music covers to Hoagy,Leo McConville and Fan?
Monday, March 11 (Bickford) Dan Levinson is assembling a dedicated group of musicians for the annual Big Bix Beiderbecke Birthday Bash this year. The prized cornet slot will be occupied by the hot new trumpet sensation Mike Davis, who wowed the crowd at JazzFest this year (with Emily Ashers outdoor intermission band). Hes been the talk of NYC this year (playing trumpet since age 6!) so NJ fans ought to get to know him. Filling out the band are Dan Levinson (clarinet and period-correct C-melody sax), Mark Shane (piano), Mike Weatherly (bass) and Kevin Dorn (drums). This is always a popular feature, and is special this year, being the 110th birthday celebration.
On January 9, 1847, a group of 25 men of German heritage founded a male singing society, dedicated in particular to the promotion of vocal and instrumental music. The society's name was Deutscher Liederkranz der Stadt New York. William Steinway, who served as President of the Liederkranz Club intermittently from 1867 until 1896, was one of the greatest presidents of our club. It was under his leadership that a building fund for a clubhouse was raised in the amount of $150,000 within 2 days. The cornerstone was laid on October 1st, 1881 at 111-119 East 58th Street, east of Park Avenue. The total cost of the building including land represented an investment of $325,000. It should be mentioned that the buildings acoustics were such that it was used at one time by RCA Victor for recording sessions. In 1919 the name of the organization was officially changed to The Liederkranz of the City of New York. Its official language was likewise changed from German to English.
The Sep 15, 1927 sesssion was to be the last for the Jean Goldkette Orchestra with Bix. Two numbers were recorded, Blue River and Clementine. There were three takes of Clementine. Take 1 was destroyed. Take 3 was held conditional and never issued. Take 2 was mastered and released on Vic 20994.
Clementine is a composition by Harry Warren (music) and Henry Creamer (lyrics). Harry Warren was born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna in Brooklyn, NY. From Wikipedia,
There is a transcription of a 1939 version by the Casa Loma Orchestra on a Circle LP. I don't have it nor could I find the recording in the internet. No recordings in the 1940s. There are several recordings of a number ttitled Clementine by Duke Ellington in the 1940s, but is is a different tune.) The Nov 16, 1946 recording by Sonny Durham listed as Clementine is really Oh My Darling Clementine. Then lots of recordings beginning in the 1950s and continuing until the present.
Let's not forget the copy of Goldkette's recording by Oliver Naylor.
I recently purchased Champion 15001, more so for the Vagabonds (California Ramblers) side, but it was backed by a wonderfully peppy version of Headin' for Home, recorded on July 8, 1925, attributed to "Ted Marshall and His Orchestra." A few of the soloists sounded familiar--I want to say Red Nichols is present, but I can't say with any certainty who they might be, or if the group name is a nom-du-disque for some other group that I should know, hence the familiar sound.
Any help as to whom "Ted Marshall and His Orchestra" might be would be appreciated.
.... Ted Marshall and His Boys is a pseudonym for the Travis-Carlton Orchestra. Headin' for Home was recorded on Jul 8, 1925. Rust gives ?Chelsea Quealey and another t, tb, cl-as, as, ts, p, bj, bb, d-x.
The Gennett counterpart of the record you just bought is the first in a list of "Gennett Record Winners" published in Presto, Nov 14, 1925.
Re: According to Rust's Dance Band Discography, ....
Thank you so much, Albert! I forgot to look at the Gennett counterparts.
I'm not at all familiar with the organization, and could see why Quealey was listed as trumpeter, although I still hear some Nichols-sounding phrasing. I wish that I had the means to upload a sound file, but I only have my Victrola for listening to acoustic era 78's.
There's a different take of "Davenport Blues" by Alex Welsh and Fred Hunt from November 28, 1971 available on archive.org.
My favorite versions of "Davenport Blues" are Bix's original and the two by Jack Teagarden: one in 1934 with Adrian Rollini, Benny Goodman and Mannie Klein for Decca; and on in 1954 under his own name on the short-lived Period label (though it's been reissued quite often on various imprints). The one Bunny Berigan did in 1937 as part of a cycle of the Bix compositions ("In a Mist," "Candlelights," "Flashes," "In the Dark") is also worth having, as is the 1960 modern-dress version by Gil Evans.
The Flapper Wife is a book written by Beatrice Burton in 1925.
You can see it is subtitled "The Story of A Jazz Bride." It is a jazz age romance novel about a young woman who wants to marry a millionaire but settles for a lawyer and refuses to fit into the housewife mold. The book was adapted in a 1926 film titled "His Jazz Bride."
The film plot is summarized in the TCM website as follows.
Dick Gregory, a young lawyer, is hard pressed to pay the bills of his wife, Gloria, and equally hard pressed to keep up with the frantic pace of her life. Edward Martindel, an attorney who represents a corporation against which Dick is litigating, attempts to bribe Dick with a substantial sum of money; Dick refuses, and Gloria develops a grievance against him on this account. After a particularly bitter argument, Gloria leaves Dick and joins some friends for a moonlight cruise. Alec Seymour, a friend of the Gregorys', tells Dick that the boat on which Gloria is sailing has not met safety standards, and Dick goes after her, saving her life when the boat sinks. Gloria repents of her wild and wicked ways, and she and Dick settle into calm domesticity.
Here are the vital statistics for Beatrice. From Wikipedia.
Beatrice married Victor Hugo Morgan in 1916 in Ohio. In the 1920s, they moved to Florida where Mr. Morgan was editor of a local newspaper.
Beatrice's books were quite successful, several of them were serialized in newspapers. In her books, Beatrice made references to popular culture and used 1920s slang. You can hear a sample of the book in
Thanks so much for posting this fascinating info, pictures, etc. on Beatric Burton's "The Flapper Wife." I have that book and also have the sequel to that novel -- it's called "Footloose." Just now I'm too lazy to run downstairs to the 1920's novels I keep in a large four-shelf "laboratory" bookcase with pullout glass coverings, but I'd say I have at least 8 or 9 of the Beatrice Burton books. And the 78 of the song, too.
I'm thrilled about this posting -- collecting Jazz Age popular fiction in their original bindings happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. Admittedly many of the valumes are lacking their jackets and are often more than a little worse for wear, but it's the reading which gives me so much pleasure (as well as finding them at flea markets or hunting them down from on-line sellers.)
Actually Warner Bros. bought the screen rights to "Young Man with a Horn" in 1945 intending it as a vehicle for John Garfield, who didn't look like Bix either but would probably have been better in the role. Instead Garfield made "Humoresque" with Joan Crawford, and though "Humoresque" is about the world of classical music its plot is close enough to "Young Man with a Horn" that if Garfield had played "Rick Martin" audiences would probably have thought, "Ah, 'Humoresque' - the jazz version!"
Not that the actor had any LINES, mind you -- he was just introduced to Gene at a party (at a time frame in the movie when Bix had already been dead for a year) and all he did was smile and shake hands, and then go sit with his girlfriend while someone in the apartment's living room was performing in a very 1950's kind of way. Everyone looked like the 1950's in that film.
Of all the bad biographical films made about jazz musicians, the Gene Krupa Story is possibly the worst of them all. There are two mentions of Bix. At one point, when Gene Krupa is becoming famous, there is a montage of a quick series of snapshots of newspapers headlines. One of the headlines reads "Bix Biederbecke (not my spelling!) with Gene Krupa". Later in the film, when Gene Krupa has made it, he has this ostentatious apartment where he is throwing a party. The bell rings, the door to the apartment is opened and three guys come in. They are introduced to the actor who plays Gene Krupa as Bunny Berigan, Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke.
PS Bobby Troupe played Arthur Schutt in the film "The Five Pennies."
Ha, yeah, I watched that trailer. Yeeeeecccccch -- they didn't even TRY to show a cloche hat, dropped waist dress, or t-strap shoes on any of the women -- there they were in their 1950's dresses and admittedly hideous 1950's hairstyles -- the men were no better, all 50's pompadoured hair and man in the gray flannel suits outfits. Sigh. I'm sure the movie -- I had to give up watching it on TCM after the "Bix" introduction at the party -- had only a vintage car or two to allude to the 1920's and 30's; the music itself had that nauseating quasi-Dixieland blare on those early LIVING STEREO promotional LP's of circa 1960, which featured jerky-looking guys in straw hats and loud striped jackets posed leeringly on the Technicolor album covers. You know what I mean. "Hot Jazz From Yesteryear!" and it's something awful like the RCA house band faking Dixie in a roaring rattle of strumming banjos and howling trumpets. It was the kind of stuff which made me clamp my hands over my ears as a kid and still does today.
Bleh. Why was ANY movie made in the 1950's? They all, every jack one of them, got everything wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't even think they knew their OWN contemporary culture in those days, let alone another era's. The only art I can stomach from that abominable decade were the superlative opera recordings -- LP's were new, the best artists were at the Met and La Scala; companies had plenty of money to promote their artists.
Yeah, I know you jazz buffs are [offended by my hollering] aware of some kind of great work during the 1950's, but since my bile charges to my throat when I even think about that decade outside of the opera box, it's a pitible blank to me. I do love that "jazz octet" tribute album to Bix from 1960, but that's because those guys seemed to sense how it was with Bix, and more than alluded to his spirit in the rendition of his work.
Anybody who wants to can take all the pot-shots they want at "my" decade, the 1970's, I'm sure just as reprehensibly laughable and contemptible to many of you as the 1950's "culture" -- unfathomable as much of it is -- seems to me. I'm sure the 1970's was a big plastic garish joke to many, the decade I came of age, but -- at least -- movies put out about the Jazz Age era 35-40 years ago got the costumes and music pretty accurately -- at least they tried. Masybe 1974's The Great Gatsby was dorky, but it didn't hurt to stretch the imagination. In 1954 a viewing audience would have had to close their eyes.
Wahoo, haven't had such a good rant in months. :D :D :D
I never saw the Krupa movie. I guess by that time I semi-subconsciously thought Gene Krupa was doing a caricature of himself on the occasional television spots he did, and I wasn't too impressed by those. Since then, of course, I've heard his work in the 1920s and 1930s and have a clearer idea of his true talents.
I did see The Glenn Miller Story and The Benny Goodman Story, I was an unsophisticated kid then, and despite some anachronisms (but with an occasional tip of the hat to the period), they got me interested in non-1950s music, and I'm eternally grateful for that, as I don't know where else I would have come across 1930s swing music and be led back from there to the 1920s.
I agree with you about the 1950s "bio" movies in general and those tourist attraction "Dixieland" bands in the striped blazers playing bad jazz. It was a strange decade when the whole country was full of itself, and I guess the movie makers figured the 1920s would be improved for the moviegoer by pretending they were the 1950s. It was a strangely disjunctive decision, since there was a mini-craze around the early part of the decade for the 1920s, with people doing the Charlston and dancing to hot music at "Roaring Twenties" costume parties. 1920s music became available on 45s and LPs and that was a good thing for me. Sometimes even a bad movie can lead someone to good music.
Hi, Glenda! Yeah, I just had to let it all out -- it bugs me to pieces how movies made back then got nothing right historically -- no matter what century or what era they were portraying (the godawful version of "Ivanhoe" or "Knights of the Round Table" for starters--)
You're right that it was because this country was full of itself -- because, I liked some European "historical" movies from the 1950's -- I'm thinking in particular of the adaption of Emile Zola's Pot Boulle [spelling?] -- they were accurate in 1880's clothing, the houses and carriages, and it was very amusing without being dated or 1950-ish at all. Postwar France and Italy were coming out with watcheable, accurate, well-produced films portraying different eras and their cultures.
Now, somebody is going to want to slit my throat -- which one was it that Jimmy Stewart was in, Glenn Miller story? I sure didn't go for that one and I'll spare the reasons why because there's lots of Jimmy fans out there, but, uh, equally irritating to me was the lead actress June Allyson with the sloppy lisp: "Shay, Glenn," or "Sho, will I be sheeing you tonight?" -- I'm not quoting verbatim, and it's not supposed to be politically correct to criticize speech imnpediments, but if someone's going to be an actor/actress something like that should not be -- pardon the pun - so pronounced. She shounded drunk all the time, and I had to shut THAT movie off of TCM after the firsht half hour becaushe -- oh, never mind.
I read a really hilarious comment, I think on IMDB, that The Gene Krupa Story, using the teen idol of the times, Sal Mineo, as the lead, could be compared to making the Frank Sinatra Story in 1972 with a TV teen idol of those times, David Cassidy, as the lead playing Sinatra from age 17 to 47. Then one can sense how ridiculous the premise is--very young people can't play entertainer legends believably any more than post-middle-aged people can portray youthful ingenues and leading heroes. [Sort of like the old saw about some 60+ Broadway actress in Romeo and Juliet, for example, playing a girl just turning age 14.)
But somehow I had less of a problem with Mineo's performance than I had with coiffures and clothing straight out of I Love Lucy. It's like those old circa 1960 TV episodes of "The Untouchables" which I saw, not in syndication years ago, but on one of the nostalgia cable channels. 'Nuff said, I wasn't about to kick the TV screen in. But it is interesting, as you pointed out, that during the 1950's there WAS somewhat of a rivival of the "Roaring 20's" craze; I have some popular culture/quasi history books published from those times -- with hilariously inaccurate illustrations between the photographs -- and it was another case of, "Don't they get it?" Sort of like Happy Days being such a popular television program all during the mid-to-late 1970's. It's the 1970's version of 1950's middle America, the actors just barely scraping by in acceptable clothing and hairstyles with the right cars, but after a couple of seasons of the sit-com, the slang and cultural values became more and more grounded to circa 1975 than 1955.
Singin' in the Rain (1952) is a helluva good movie -- cliches, color, and all. There's so much charm and humor that the anachronisms just float by like clouds. Who cares. The music is glorious, the costumes fabulous.
So can you name three (3) movies that "get it right" when it comes to old jazz? I feel your pain, but it's tough to please somebody who is both passionate and knowledgable about the details. Might as well expect Dr Kildare to actually remove a gallbladder.
Singin' in the Rain: My all-time favorite musical.
Plot, music, dancing all phenomenal. I agree, it is so good that the anachronisms are forgiven. My wife presented me, for my upcoming birthday, with a copy of the 60th anniversary edition. I will watch the blueray version later this month. (The set includes both a dvd and a blueray).
Well, that's a challenging question! I'll do my best -
I do like certain movies who seem to closely capture the culture of the 1920's-early '30's era (clothes, cars, background music) but as for specific movies actually about jazz itself -- well, even though the clothes and music are both great in the 1990 Bix and the guys did well with believable acting (it was the plot which was a shambles: untrue facts, depicting Bix's family as a mess, the clubs stuffed with middle-aged people instead of the youth, and not one girl with an authentic 1920's bob!)
There are certain elements of 1984's The Cotton Club which did capture a lot of the ambience and strived to sypathetically represent African-Americans, although they should have been depicted much more importantly in the musicians' scene itself. Gregory Hines was playing a dancer, but what of all the important black jazz artists his character surely would have worked with? Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington as characters were portrayed only very briefly. Also, the movie reached too high in making the Richard Gere character both a Bix-emulating cornet player frequenting all the Harlem clubs, AND involved with gangsters, AND a sudden movie star in the early "talkies" of 1929-1930. Plus it was not a specific jazz biography and represented no true characters save for a glimpse of the Harlem greats; otherwise the plot is fiction; the music not what we wish for.
I have a shabby little VHS of a 1976 TV program shown on public television -- I believe part of the American Masterpieces' series -- F. Scott Fitzgerald's story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" about the machinations of catty, snotty teenage girls one-upping one another in their pursuit of boys and popularity, but it is a little gem, very faithful to the story, perfect clothes of the very early 1920's, and the kids dancing to an acoustic record which is an accurate representation of the soft jazzy post-ragtime fotxtrot music of around 1921 (no, I can't identify the record, but it IS a 78 record and not something fake on the soundtrack, from what I can discern).
1990's movies made about gangsters of those years -- Hoodlum, Once Upon A Time in America -- put the real jazz on the soundtrack of actual recordings in the background whent he characters are at nightclubs and parties, and they get the clothing, hair, cars, buildings, and ambience pretty right -- I have to check in on more specific titles and better illustrate.
But, sorry guys, even though I agree Singing in the Rain is a darling movie and often very funny, the garish Technicolor is too much for me, and geez, historically it is not accurate, although we've already established that. However, it did, I agree, do a beautiful job introducting 1950's audience to an interest and affection for the late 1920's.
Verissimilitude! If You Can Fake That, You Got It Made
Aaah, quitcher bellyaching!!
The historical period best served by the movies is the CURRENT year, and whatever is going on in that year. HISTORIC history is rarely done well on-screen.
The best and most historically resonant movies of the 1950s are about the then-current culture: Rebel Without a Cause, Jail House Rock, The Sweet Smell of Success, and many others I could name.
Sometimes a movie will make a total hash of the "period" being depicted, while also being a wonderful documentary of the present. The 1958 St. Louis Blues, starring Nat King Cole, makes a historical travesty of the life of W. C. Handy, but has priceless contemporary performances by jazz stars of 1958 (Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Mahalia Jackson, etc).
My favorite movie about Vaudeville and the 1920s in general is The Dance of Life, (Paramount, 1929), starring Nancy Carroll and Hal Skelly. It is the grittiest, most realistic-looking, unglamorous look at show business ever made, depicting all the hazards of travel, relationships, backstage and onstage shenanigans, and all. Of course, every costume, hairdo, face, attitude, filmic style and nano-second of music (and there is plenty) is unerringly period-perfect. In an immortal moment, slapstick comedian Hal Skelly lies down on stage in the middle of his act to deliver "True Blue Lou," to the most heartbreakingly tender accompaniment by the Paramount Orchestra. For an early talkie, and of a Broadway stage hit to boot, it's quite cinematic and un-stagey.
So there's your answer: The best films about the 1920s were done IN the 1920s!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Past Imperfect - History According to the Movies Mark C. Carnes, editor, Henry Holt, pub. 1995. Penetrating essays by a glittering dais of historians, comparing "real" history with the Hollywood filmizations thereof, from Dinosaurs (Jurassic Park), to Moses (The Ten Commandments) to Malcolm X.
.... movies are time machines. They provide an accurate insight into the past. One of the reasons I love bluerays is because they provide such amazing detail about all the items seen in the various scenes: appliances, radios, switches, lamps, furniture, room decorations, etc.
... Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that have nothing to do with reality. But who cares.!!The music and the dancing are out of this world, and the silly plots and acting are so endearing (at least to me) that I watch them every time they are on TCM. I am anxiously awaiting their release on blueray.
Indeed: MAGIC is the necessary item in any film, whatever "reality" supposedly is being addressed. Singin' in the Rain, featured in this discussion, is loaded with magic, and because of that we can happily suspend and retire disbelief for the whole two hours. The best to be hoped for from any work of art is that it SEND us. Other considerations are secondary.
I wish I had a copy of The Dance of Life. Or can it be viewed on YouTube?
I LOVE movies MADE in the 1920's, that goes without saying. Even the awful ones are atmospheric, although I lose patience with the loooooong boring drawing room dramas, and the comedies leave me cold. But, oh boy, "showbiz" movies about backstage life, all made in 1929 --
Glorifying the American Girl
The Great Gabbo
On With the Show
The Broadway Melody
I've got these and others, all 1929-ers, on dvd or vhs (yep, some of "those others" taped from TCM because no one has seen fit to make them commercially available, but I'm determined in close in on getting the best copies I can)
And holy gee, the college stories are a scream -- I love "So This Is College", 1929. Later college flicks are just as fun and full of you-are-there: 1932's The Age of Consent, all full of serious discussions about "free love"; the supposedly high-minded boy wanting to keep his pre-fiance girlfriend "pure" until their marriage, so he goes off and does the nasty with the slutty waitress and gets ARRESTED because she's under 21 -- her dad wants to force them to get married, otherwise he'll go to jail. Oh, and "Confessions of a Co-Ed" from 1931 -- BING has a part in the show, performing with the Rhytmn Boys, and Phillips Holmes, dancing by, casually says, "Hi Bing." "Hi Phil," Bing replies with a wave, scarecely missing a beat while in his song. Great stuff.
Oh yeah, who cares about black-and-white (or the crude 3-tone Technicolor in some musical numbers)? Pop in the tape or the disc and be transported back 84 years ago. . . . almost like sitting in the room with 'em.
"Dance of Life" and Great (and not-so-great) Jazz Movies
BTW, "The Dance of Life" is available as a free download on archive.org. The print quality is scratchy but acceptable. Alas, the only extant sources are prints prepared for 1950's TV showings so the numbers originally filmed in two-strip Technicolor now exist only in black-and-white. Also, while the film is quite good as it stands it would have been even better if Paramount had signed Barbara Stanwyck to repeat the female lead, which she'd played on stage (where the show was called "Burlesque") under her original name, Ruby Stephens. Instead they tested Stanwyck but went with Nancy Carroll because she'd already made films and therefore had a movie "name."
My favorite jazz biopic of all time: "Bird." Superbly atmospheric direction by Clint Eastwood, great performances by Forest Whitaker as Charlie Parker and Diane Venora as his partner Chan Richardson, and amazing sound recording which enabled the filmmakers to use Parker's actual recordings and dub in new accompaniments, overcome a few inaccuracies in the script and make this a worthy tribute to a jazz genius.
My least favorite jazz biopic of all time: "Lady Sings the Blues." Billie Holiday's heart-rending autobiography got run through the Hollywood meat grinder as a vehicle for Diana Ross, who not only doesn't sound a bit like Billie but looks so different you could put a picture of Billie Holiday and one of Diana Ross together and offer it as proof positive that Black people DON'T all look alike. Overdirection by Sidney J. Furie and a script that not only ignores the truth of Billie's life but substitutes rank Hollywood clichés make this one virtually unwatchable.
Greatest missed opportunity for a jazz biopic: "New Orleans," the 1947 film which began as a project Orson Welles wanted to make at RKO: a Louis Armstrong biopic with Armstrong playing himself. Only it went through several morphings and ended up, as my partner pointed out to me, as an uncredited knockoff of "San Francisco," with two boring white leads (a gambler and casino owner and an aspiring operatic soprano who falls in love with him and with jazz music at his place) and the 1917 closure of Storyville serving the same story function as the 1906 earthquake and fire did in "San Francisco." Still, "New Orleans" is watchable for Armstrong and Billie Holiday (the real one!) in full cry and for occasionally atmospheric direction by Arthur Lubin (particularly the long opening tracking sequence to Armstrong's "West End Blues" and the departure of the "ladies of the evening" from Storyville).
I saw that movie and i notice my grandfather bunny berigan was played by someone in the Gene Krupa Story.There a part where someone goes to the door and bunny is there and he is told to come in.I know Bunny went to lot of parties where they jam and the music was better then anything recorded.
The collection consists exclusively of photographs and other iconography of musicians. Primarily, the images are of jazz musicians; also represented are a few notable figures from other musical and artistic disciplines. The bulk of the material dated from the 1950s through the mid-1970s; one photograph is dated 1940. Of particular interest are images of: Louis Armstrong; William "Count" Basie; Sidney Bechet; Leon Bismarck [sic] "Bix" Beiderbecke; Bennett Lester "Benny" Carter; John Coltrane; Miles Davis; Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge; Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington; Bill Evans; John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie; Benny Goodman; Coleman Hawkins; John Cornelius "Rab" Hodges; Billie Holiday; Henry "Hank" Jones; Charles Mingus; Thelonious Monk; Bessie Smith; Art Tatum; Jack Teagarden; Lester Young. There are images of composers: Benjamin Britten; Aaron Copland; Frederick Delius; Paul Hindemith; Leo Janáèek; Bohuslav Martinu; Darius Milhaud; Carl Orff; Serge Prokofiev; Maurice Ravel; Dmitri Shostakovich; Karol Szymanowski; Ralph Vaughan Williams. Also included is a large poster of Vaslav Nijinsky.
Dave, did you ever take a look at this collection? Any "new" or "unknown" photo(s) of Bix by any chance? When you have some time and it is conveneient, please take a look. You never know until you try.
You will see that the OKeh label will be revived. Here is the first sentence of the article.
The major-label landscape hasnt been hospitable to jazz in recent years, but theres a bit of good news on the horizon: OKeh Records, the label that released historic early recordings by Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Duke Ellington, is being revived under the corporate umbrella of Sony Masterworks.
What? No mention of Bix and Tram? Shame on sie!
Wikipedia has an informative article about the OKeh label.
The article includes an image of Bix's "In A Mist." It is "borrowed" from http://bixbeiderbecke.com with no attribution. The owner of the record is Joe Giordano. He sent me a photo which I scanned and posted.
The image in Wikipedia. (If you look at the properties of the image you will see "okehredjoe" before ".jpg" !
The image in the Bixography website. Note "okehredjoe" before ".jpg" in the properties.
Surely a lovelier-to-look-at "In a Mist" label could grace the Wikipedia OKeh page than this tattered, battered, faded and stained re-issue copy. Somewhere west of Peoria, a mint-condition original 1927 large-black-label edition is waiting for its closeup.
A Back to the 30s Cocktail Party featuring Vince Giordano & his Nighthawks Orchestra, Grammy awardwinning, Vince Giordano won his award for HBOs Boardwalk Empire. The evening will feature dancing, delectable food, signature cocktails, costumed characters, video entertainment and many more surprises. 6pm till midnight (includes After Party festivities) Everyone receives two complimentary cocktails.
Take a look at the article by Michelle Trauring in
Randy kindly sent a copy of the notes he wrote for the concert. Thanks, Randy.
Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong: Back Home Again in Queens
When my old friend, Clyde Bullard (producer of FlushingTown Halls Jazz Live! series since 1998), suggested a concert in honor of both Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong, I jumped at the chance. The idea seemed a natural fit for the program and venue since both Armstrong and Beiderbecke lived (and died) in Queens. Local recognition has come to Armstrong mainly through the efforts of Michael Cogswell and his superb team at the LouisArmstrongHouseMuseum in Corona, as well as the accompanying Archive at QueensCollege. Bix Beiderbeckes final residence in Sunnyside is now designated with a bronze plaque, thanks to the work of drummer and graphic designer Paul Maringelli, who holds an annual concert and vigil there on the anniversary of the cornetists death. Plans are underway for a permanent BixBeiderbeckeMuseum and Archive in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa.
Beiderbecke and Armstrong were perhaps the first great soloists in jazz. Their styles, personalities, and, of course, life trajectories couldnt have been more disparate: Bix started out in a solidly middle-class family but died poor and pretty much forgotten; Louis began life in grinding poverty but rose to become rich (by the standards of his time) and arguably the most famous and beloved person in the world. Louis, two years Bixs senior, would outlive his counterpart by almost four decades. But in the 1920s these two set the standard for a vital new music, and their work forms both the bedrock and pinnacle of what has come to be known as classic jazz.
Louis and Bix first met as teenagers while working on the riverboats in the year 1920. After the first trip to Saint Louis, wrote Armstrong in his autobiography, we went up river to Davenport, Iowa, where all the Streckfus boats put up for the winter. It was there that I met the almighty Bix Beiderbecke, the great cornet genius. He made the greatest reputation possible for himself, and we all respected him as though he had been a god. Whenever we saw him our faces shone with joy and happiness, but long periods would pass when we did not see him at all.
Their next encounter would be in Chicago in the summer of 1923. Hoagy Carmichael wrote of how he and Bix went to hear Louis with King Olivers Band at the LincolnGardens: Bix was on his feet, his eyes poppingEvery note Louis hit was perfection.
It would be another three years before Bix and Louis would see each other again. As Jimmy McPartland, Bixs friend and protégé related, Pee Wee Russell, Bix, and Frankie Trumbauer were working down at Hudson Lake, about eighty miles south in Indiana. Every Monday, their night off, they would come up here to hear us. When we got finished, we would all go off together to catch Louis or Jimmy Nooneanother of our favorites. Sometimes we sat in with Louis at the Sunset, or with Noone at the Apex.
Bix spent two weeks in Chicago with Paul Whitemans band in November of 1927 and another three weeks in July of 1928. Bix and Louis renewed their friendship during these periods, as Armstrong fondly recalled: I had been diggin him in small combos and stuff. Now my mans gonna blow some of these big time arrangements, I thought, and sure enough he did. All of a sudden Bix stood up and took a solo and Im tellin you, those pretty notes went all through me.
When he finished work that night at the theater, he came directly to the place where I worked. He stayed there until the customers left. Thats when we locked all the doors. My band stayed, Bix and his friends remained, and youre talking about a jam session that was priceless. Hmmm! Ive never heard such good music since. There are likewise many instances in which Beiderbecke expressed similar admiration and affection for Armstrong.
It should be noted that Bix and Louis were trailblazers not only in music but in human relations as well. Beiderbecke knew nearly all the leading African American musicians of his time: he sat in with both Duke Ellington and Fletcher Hendersons bands, and jammed with Fats Waller, Armstrong and countless others. He also attended parties at Hendersons apartment in Harlem (where W.E.B. DuBois also resided), as well as those hosted by Lionel Hamptons uncle Richard in Chicago. At these informal gatherings, Beiderbecke made music all night with the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver and Bessie Smith. Bix Beiderbecke once did a solo at our house that gave me goose bumps, Hampton recalled.
Of course, Armstrong broke so many racial barriers all over the world that his role as goodwill ambassador became almost as legendary as his music. His warmth, wit, humor, and astounding musical abilities had the power to conquer even the most hardened and cynical hearts. And fortunately for us, that power is immortalized on film and recordings.
Beiderbecke and Armstrong were born of different circumstances, and their music communicates different sensibilities: Armstrong has been called the dramatist and Beiderbecke the poet; Louis the exuberant optimist and Bix the pensive and searching introvert. Together they showed that jazz could incorporate significantly different approaches without compromising its soul and vitality.Like all great artists, their message is at once deeply profound yet totally accessible. So it was, and so it shall always be!
Thank you for making this information available. Forum readers who are too far away to hear this performance will still rejoice to have the roles of Beiderbecke and Armstrong set forward so cogently in their proper relationship and place in history.
Although their styles are often contrasted and sometimes set in an opposition that they themselves never felt, they were coming from the same place in the soul and moving toward the same expansion in the human spirit that was expressed in their work. Each one without the other leaves an uncompleted task: between them they opened their hearts and managed to say it all. And from his own words, it is clearly evident that Armstrong, being the one blessed with the wisdom born of a long lifetime, understood that so well.
Ren Brown and I talked today. He said his "Denouement" is more of a re-organization than a full shut-down. He's taking the business on-line instead of issuing catalogs. World's still will carry esoterica from labels like mine and operate on a direct internet order basis. The responses of "Don't do it, Mr. Brown!" after his announcement were so many and heartfelt that he is re-assessing the big picture.
So stay tuned, everyone, and PLEASE support his efforts.
I wonder if any more interviews w Mrs Hilton exist? She is well-spoken and charming. I never got to meet her. I did know Tommy's eldest son, Thomas III, who was the sweetest guy you'd ever want to meet. Looked a lot like his old man, to boot.
I'm an Spanish 18 year old who is interested in jazz & interested to learn some things about Bix or any musician who worked with him or influenced him, but more of course, to know more.
I've got a serious doubt:
I've found on Rust's American Dance Band Discography on page 604, exactly the Lou Gold chapter that Eddie Edwards recorded with Lou Gold. I had to say it, but I wonder if that Eddie Edwards is the same man who recorded with the ODJB & his only mid-20s recordings where those of Gowan's Rhapsody Makers for Gennett?
I believe that the Eddie Edwards in Rust's listing under Lou Gold is one and the same as the ODJB trombonist. But I will be happy to be corrected if this information is wrong. Eddie Edwards also recorded with Johnny Sylvester and Brad Gowans in the second half of the 1920s.
In the mid-1940s he has his own band, Eddie Edwards And His Original Dixieland Jazz Band. It included, among others, Tony Sbarbaro, Brad Gowans, Eddie Condon and Wild Bill Davison.
Precisely Albert : I also thought that musicians got paid on the spot after the session. So what about the cheque made out to Bix, signed by Sam Lanin on 20th Oct 1927 ? I still wonder about the second Trumpet/Cornet on Sugar. Now that we have found two takes, the solos are different too !!
The "Sugar" that I am referring to was recorded on 20th Oct 1927 by Sam Lanin and his Orch. There is a Bixian short solo passage towards the end of the record that is most definitely not Red Nichols.Neither is it the lead trumpet player on the record. It is fairly "laid back" and behind the beat, just as Bix might have phrased it on a day when he was not under any pressure to produce a "work of art", e.g. when booked as a session sideman at scale. Recently an alternative take has emerged on which the solo is different, but by the same player. There are moments during the record where one can detect the occasional note, played by the second trumpet,articulated (tongued) just as Bix often did.This recording has been mentioned before on this forum some years ago, but I have only just got a copy of the second take.In the latest edition of the American Dance Band Discography the player is stated to be Jimmy McPartland. I can say,with some assurance,that it is not he. We know for certain that Sam Lanin issued a cheque for $25 to Bix on 20th Oct 1927, and I was merely acknowleging Albert's statement that musicians usually got paid on the day of the session !
Malcolm, can you make an mp3 file of the new take you just acquired and send it to me as an attachment to an email message? I think there would be great interest among forumites to listen to it. Thanks.
The YouTube version and Malcolm's 2004 version certainly do have a different ending solo, a quite Bixian one. It's too bad "EMGColonel" devoted screen time to his dancing couple instead of letting us have a good look at that record label to see what take it might be!