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
i am just listening to a very goof play on the BBC RADIO 3 called Bix: Singing The Blues by Robert Forrester about a fictionalised meeting between Armstrong and Bix.
It's very good and might still be available on line if you missed it.
I found the "conversation' between Louis and Bix grotesque, ludicrous, repulsive.
To think that I rushed home from a gig to hear this garbage !! Whoever did the "research" wants putting up against a wall and shooting . I daresay this must have seemed like a "good idea" to some young uninformed scriptwriter. As I continued, against my better judgement, to listen I felt like bursting into laughter several times. The concept of Louis Armstrong sounding like a latter day rastafarian and using modern day street jive-speak was so ridiculous. Who, on this planet, has never heard Louis Armstrong speak? Furthermore we were treated to examples of Bix's music that were not in fact by Bix at all; even though introduced as such. I won't go on and on (although I could). Suffice to say that this should never be mentioned again on any Bix related forum, and thus deleted from our collective memorybank.
P.S. There was a lot of racial stereotying in evidence too. I cannot imagine anything remotely like that going on during the 1920s.
Bix was portrayed as a drunkard, child molester, his parents did not listen to the records he sent home, he drinks so much that he pisses in his pants, etc, etc. Why not have Bix talk about what he felt when he improvised his solos, his creative process when composing his piano pieces, the thrill of listening for the first time the recording of "Tiger Rag" by the ODJB, etc. etc. There is so much to tell about Bix's music, a real lost opportunity. A complete abomination. I can't believe that, with all the traditional jazz musicians and Bixophiles in England, the producers did not seek their advice.
Bouncing around on the net last night, I stumbled upon the made-for-TV-movie "Child Star," a biography of Shirley Temple, from her conception to the end of her days at 20th Century-Fox. The whole thing is on youtube:
There is much remarkable about this picture, starting with young Ashley Rose Orr, who portrays Shirley, but I'm cutting to the chase: The period music, by Bill Elliott, which covers 1928 - 1942, is - despite all ravings to the contrary about latter-day re-creations - utterly pitch-perfect. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, starting with the very beginning of the picture. (0:00:00 - 0:02:00
It's 1928, and, in the background, gradually building up from a solo piano, we get a full-scale re-incarnation of the '28 Whiteman band, playing a peppy "Challis" arrangement, complete with solos by "Charles Strickfadden" and "Bix." It's not a transcription, either, but an original tune by Elliott, with a tip of the hat to "Lovable" and "Dardanella." The 16-bar "Bix" solo is sensational, and shows complete understanding of Bix's style.
The music keeps pace with the years, so by 1942, we're hearing pitch-perfect Swing.
So go watch this, already.
You are right, Brad. Very authentic, and I am a stickler for recreations of 1920s music. Who is the guy that does the Bixian trumpet?
...the obvious nod to Davenport Blues. You just failed to mention it, right?
Wow, thanks Brad! Bill Elliott, Professor of Contemporary Writing and Production at Berklee, and leader of the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra.... I suppose that explains the pitch-perfect Swing. And evidently, Mr. Elliott has more up his sleeve!
Watch Bill Elliott's Swing Orchestra rehearse, with the multi-talented Wayne Bergeron on a soaring lead trumpet (I believe I can hear him on the movie soundtrack too): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlAK-5QP8Ec
Speaking of Shirley Temple, here is Bill Elliott joining John Lithgow on a children's CD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUxQ4Pcx7G4
OKeh, just one more for good measure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGMJp-5ftwI
Yes, the half-chorus cornet solo has cleverly woven into it quotes from "Davenport," and bits of Bix's improvisations on "Dardanella" and "Changes." Amazingly, it doesn't sound cobbled together, but rather like something Bix himself would have done. As you've pointed out in other posts, Bix "quotes" "Davenport Blues" in a recorded solo or two.
Again, this Whiteman moment - not to mention the solo - is thoughtful and exceedingly well worked-out, considering it's only a background score, not an on-screen feature for orchestra. The rest of the score is just as good. The picture premiered in 2001. Hasn't anyone noticed this in 12 years?
Where are Laura and Glenda, the verisimilitude police?
...(The Internet Movie Data Base), and in the over 40 reviews of "Child Star," there is not a single word about Bill Elliott's background score. I guess the satisfaction of a Job Well Done HAS to be its own reward!
But I'll get a look tonight --
I didn't catch the allusion to "Dardanella," but did catch the "Davenport Blues" touch!
Ohhhhhkaaaay, picky picky picky picky picky Laura -- and sure, the music is swell, there's no doubt about it, but there's Mrs. Temple tap-dancing away in the pink nursery (and hey, weren't little Shirley's brothers TEENAGERS when she was born?!) in a long-skirted dress which was more 1921 than 1928 -- and the hair? Whipping that 1990's coif around like a shampoo commercial. Even middle-aged ladies bobbed their hair by 1928, or wore it up in a curled style which made it look as if it has been cut short. A stylish, upper middle class younger lady like Shirley's mommy -- and she wasn't very young since she had two quite grown boys already -- would have had the latest in dresses and how she fixed her hair.
Well, to be fair, really, once we got well into the 1930's, the hats, hairstyles, skirt lengths and all fashion were right up there in being right with the circa 1935-1940 times, like the music. And the little girl playing Shirley is a remarkable talent, indeed.
Favorite Shirley Temple movie: The Little Princess. Not only because I love the Frances Hodgson Burnett children's novel, but the movie is quite a harrowing social drama, from the cruelly snobbish school headmistress to the lowly scullery maid. (It also provided untold reams of satire fun for my family when they showed it on TV every Christmas Eve in Cleveland during the late 1960's, but that's another anecdote about my much-missed late dad and how he made us laugh.)
Okay, Miss Picky, so Gertrude Temple's hair looks like a Pantene hair commercial. Jeez, go please the world! That's a small cavil for everything else in this picture that came out right. If Venus de Milo had just one zit, I bet you'd send her to the hog farm.
C'mon! If they have the resources to properly research, then why don't they do it? Aren't there a lot of old-timey Shirley fans frenetically tap-dancing along to the TV when her movies are on? They want a movie about their icon to get it RIGHT.
And what fun is life if one cannot grumble and nit-pick about how historical and cultural details of their favorite era is represented? You guys sure do it about MUSIC!
I didn't shoot down their acting abilities or their physical appearances or their sheer talent. I just said at the very beginning of the movie they were in the wrong costumes and hairstyles. Anybody watching old Our Gang/Little Rascals films on TV as a kid would know how people looked back then. . . . which means those folks putting together a cute TV movie.
Let me have my grumpy fun!
Okay, have your fun, already. Far be it from me to sleet on anyone's picnic.
But Laura, I'm so glad, in a movie of this type, that ANYTHING gets done right, I'm willing to overlook many another faux-pas. This Shirley Temple story could have been the worst turkey imaginable. I decided to watch it only out of morbid curiosity. But I was so shocked by the Whiteman / Bix moment at the beginning, that I forgave it everything, including Ma Temple's Toni Tenille hair-do.
I have this habit of seeking out the best in the worst. It affords me great joy to notice something sublime in the midst of mediocrity*. It's the Pony in the Manure Syndrome. You know that old joke? - - Where behavioral scientists experimented with this optimistic kid, putting him in a room full of horse manure? The kid gleefully dove in, flinging handfuls and yelling "Whoopee!!" "What are you so happy about?" they asked. He answered, "Well, with all this horse shit, there's gotta be a PONY in here somewhere!"
* e. g. "Deep Night" by Rudy Vallée and his Connecticut Yankees (Victor 21868)
And just because a movie or a TV show doesn't get it quite right doesn't mean I won't watch it. Some films and programs are absolute dreck, some may be off a bit but still fun to watch; some are so awful that they are great fun as camp. If a film, documentary or program is made in good spirit and kind intentions,hey, we'll enjoy it.
And I don't dispute for a moment that the music was lots of fun in that flick!
But Brad! I think you miss Laura's point a little. You may think the costume and hairdo are trifling details, and perhaps they are.
But it seems to me if they can be so meticulous about reproducing Whiteman's arrangement and Bix's solo, they could find a more authentic dress somewhere and stick a period wig on that actress's head for the few "baby Shirley" scenes, saving her bobbysoxer long waves for later in the film. After all, it was the first real scene in the movie to set the time and place--not a minor thing in the exposition.
It's as if Judy Garland climbed on that clang-clang-clanging trolley wearing flip-flops!
I'm glad you championed me in what I was getting at. I can't help but suspect Brad liked to paint me as this termagant curmudgeon when I'm simply pointing out that if film-makers and TV production companies have the money to research the period culture background a little and "get it right", why don't they?
After all, you guys would all be burned to a crisp if they got the music wrong on any TV program or movie. I certainly know that.
(And I also bet that if a male complained on this site, there wouldn't be nearly the vituperative reaction. I'm not trying to bait you, Brad. But I can't help but notice I get ripped into little shreds whenever I venture an opinion. Coincidence?)
...with my daughter when it was first shown on ABC, back when they used to show period bio pictures as family programming.
I remember seeing such films with John Ritter as L. Frank Baum (much earlier) and Jason Alexander as A.C Gilbert.
Man, I miss pre-reality TV.
Mike Vaudwrey alerts me of a program about Bix. He writes, "10-00 p.m. tonight UK time (GMT) BBC Radio 3 is broadcasting a play called Bix : Singing(sic) The Blues by Robert Forrest described as a fictionalised version of the meeting between Bix and Louis Armstrong in Chicago(July ,1928 I believe). It includes original music composed and played by Iain Johnstone. This is no doubt timed to coincide with the London Jazz Festival which is being extensively covered by the BBC."
Here is the link to the BBC website with additional inflormation and a link to the live broadcast.
Thank you very much Mike.
The myth that "perhaps his [Bix's] greatest tragedy was that he never got to play with the best - because in his view the best were black." continues, unstoppable. I guess Adrian Rollini, Eddie Lang, Frank Trumbauer, Don Murray, Joe Venuti, Steve Brown, etc. were not among the best. Come to think of it, they were lousy musicians. Bix was wasting his talent playing with them.
Towards the end of the program, the character who plays Bix utters the words, "I pissed in my pants."
This is repugnant.
Having forced my way through the entire 90 minutes of this play including the brief documentary bits fore and aft I have to conclude that it is little short of character assassination so far as Bix is concerned. Robert Forrest (I think he has to be the one who is a screenwriter) must have done considerable research to assemble this chronologically jumbled mix of facts, discredited anecdotes, false opinions(e.g. the words put into Bix's mouth re Whiteman) and fiction. A poisonous concoction indeed. Although positive the picture of Louis Armstrong is of course equally distorted. In a brief quote at the end somebody -presumably Mr Forrest - made matters worse by giving a factually correct account of that Chicago summit meeting. My expectations of the play weren't too high but it was much, much worse than I could have imagined..
Don't get me started on the reverse-racist view of jazz history that seems to have become the standard version these days, propagated by people like Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch, that the only truly creative forces in shaping jazz history were Black musicians. What's especially ironic about this myth is that the one time Bix actually recorded with an African-American musician, James "Bubber" Miley on the May 21, 1030 Hoagy Carmichael "Rockin' Chair," they had surprisingly little to say to each other and had virtually nothing in common musically. (To me this is a particularly poignant record in that both Bix and Miley had drunk themselves out of jobs with major bands, Bix with Whiteman and Miley with Duke Ellington, and within a little more than two years after making this record both men were dead.)
I remember seeing the 1959 film "The Cry of Jazz," a particularly nasty and argumentative presentation of the "only Blacks created jazz" case, in which the narrator denounces all white jazz musicians as playing "follow the leader." When I wrote about that film in my movie blog I said that "makes me wonder which Black 'leaders' Bix Beiderbecke, Django Reinhardt, Artie Shaw, Stan Kenton, Gerry Mulligan and Lennie Tristano, to name just a few, were following. (Some racialist jazz commentators make Django a sort of 'honorary Black' because as a Gypsy he had to deal with similar discrimination.) It also ignores the influence of white musicians on Black ones -- like Frank Trumbauer and Jimmy Dorsey on Lester Young and Benny Carter, or Bix on Rex Stewart."
After the page opens, click on the image to make it bigger.
.... popular novel by Fannie Hurst published in 1921. Available, I believe, complete in google books. The complete title is Star- Dust, The Story of an American Girl.
The novel was made into a movie in 1922.
There was also a 1917 short titled "Star Dust," starring Marguerite Clayton.
Sometimes I wonder if Hoagy got the title for his song from the novel by Fannie Hurst.
.."Imitation of Life," the movie adaptation of which I can no longer watch because the ending is just too devastating.
Another interesting connection to Hurst is that she was born in Hamilton, Ohio (1889), the small town within close proximity of the Stockton Club where the Wolverine Orchestra came together. Priscilla Holbrook, contacted by Bix for piano instruction in the winter of 1923, also resided there, and it was through her that Bix was introduced to the music of Eastwood Lane - a source of great inspiration to him from that point onward.
Born in Hamilton, he recorded with Bix in his first and last recording sessions.
An obituary of Leibrook.
An article from April 7, 1924 in the Hamilton paper. Perhaps the only published photo of Bix when he was alive, with the exception of the articles in the Davenport press.
I like your use of "Sometimes I wonder". I think I remember reading that Hoagy's mother, who I believe taight him to play piano, had a job playing piano in the pit for silent movies. If so, there's a chance she saw the movie and, given how close they were, ....
But did you know about Mike Mosiello and His Hot Peppers? Here are two recordings by this group. Andy Sannella on guitar and clarinet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1fLCmjykl8 Get a load of the coda. Doesn't it sound like a Five Pennies ending?
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 16, 2013 8:08 AM|
Here are the listings:
Vocal, acc. by his Deep River Orchestra: ? Harry Goldfield, t / Chester Hazlett, cl / 2-3 vn / own p / ? Snoozer Quinn, g / ? Mike Trafficante, sb. New York, February 14, 1929.
147845-1 We'll Have A New Home In The Morning Har 870-H, Re G-9376 Re G-6000-9473 are are English Columbia products.
NOTE: Harmony 870-H as PAUL HOWE.
Mike Pingitore, bj, replaces Quinn. New York, April 19, 1929.
148463-2 Head Low Col 1818-D, Re G-9376
And here the listings in the 78 online discography.
|Har 870-H||PAUL HOWE (W.ROBISON)||WE'LL HAVE A NEW HOME IN THE MORNING||147845=1||-||-||2/14/29|
|Col 1818D||WILLARD ROBISON||HEAD LOW||W148463=2||-||-||4/19/29||-|
Note that the musicians listed in Rust are Whiteman musicians!
These two recordings were mentioned by John in http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1330381253/Article+on+Willard+Robison+in+July+-+August+1951+%26quot%3BJazz+Journal%26quot%3B++%287-8%29
"Unfortunately only one of his really satisfactory recordings ever appeared in
England. This was the Regal "We'll Have a New Home In the Morning" and "Head
Low". These date from the period when he was broadcasting extensively in
America with his "Little Symphony". Robison's Little Symphony, in fact,
consisted of a string quartet, a clarinet (usually Chester Hazlitt) and a
rhythm section. His own piano was used purely as a solo instrument, and a
trumpet was occasionally added. The delightful arrangements were the work of
Bill Challis, and the performances were of chamber music character and delicacy."
Years ago, Norman Field had an mp3 file of Head Low in one of his web pages. It is no longer available. I would like to listen to these two recordings, and I imagine several of you would too. Anyone?
And a question. What were all these Whiteman musicians doing by making recordings with Willard Robison?
From the Radio Digest 1930. I'll try to find the next pages.
It is an Apeda photo!!
Radio Digest, Oct 1930.
Willard Robison who brings the croon songs and spirituals
to listeners throughout the country.
Blues Songs Turn
Dials to Maxwell
House Hour from
Coast to Coast
ARED second hand creeps resolutely
past its black brothers on
the face of an electrically synchronized
clock. The red hand
is ticking inevitably toward a program cue
in the large studio on the thirteenth floor
of the National Broadcasting Company
building in New York. In twentyeighteen
sixteen seconds, says the hand, it
will be 9:30 o'clock. Another weekly
program of Maxwell House Melodies will
be vibrating radio speakers in thousands
of homes from coast to coast.
But only one man in the studio is watching
the seconds as they vanish toward the
"zero" hour. He is the announcer, Alwyn
Bach, who listens through his earphones
and spares one eye for the lights in his
switchboard while he observes the red
hand out of the corner of the other.
For everyone else in the studio, there
is a more absorbing, vital object of attention.
Twenty-three musicians, four young
vocalists, half a hundred guests admitted
by ticket to this sanctum of sound, are
watching a slender, blond young man
who is slouched indolently against a grand
piano by the conductor's stand. He is
Willard Robison, the director, famous exponent
of the syncopated spiritual and
hauntingly harmonized "blues" song,
whose original Deep River Orchestra has
been swallowed up in the enlarged Maxwell
J. HE sixteen seconds pass.
Lights flash in the switchboard. Bach
turns from his announcer's microphone
and drops his handthe gesture signifying
"on the air". With the soothing strains
of "PeacefulValley", one of Robison's
own compositions, the orchestra begins its
program, and. the audience relaxes after its
But Robison, the director, becomes
alert, intense. His interest in the proceedings,
however, is not that of the conventional
director. He doesn't wave a
baton, and his hair remains unruffled. In
fact, he may not move from his piano
during all of the signature song. Only
his attitude of careful listening, or perhaps
a lifted eyebrow in the direction of
the 'cellos, indicates his constant scrutiny
of the performance. For Willard Robison,
who brought haunting croon songs and
spirituals of the Southwestern Negro to
jazz weary New York, belongs to a new
school of radio conductors.
Robison is an ardent student of the
technique of broadcast music. He places
his emphasis on painstaking rehearsals, on
meticulous perfection of the balance of
his orchestrations in terms of their reproduction
on the air.
But let's turn back to the progress of
this program just begun, to this typical
Thursday night concert by Willard Robison
and his Maxwell House ensemble.
First may come a rhythmic spiritual entitled
"We'll Have a New Home in the
Morning", a composition by Robison
whose title suggests that it is a sort of
epilogue to his "Cottage for Sale", the
song which first brought him fame in
New York. Then comes an example of
the new idiom in Negro spirituals, "Aunt
Hagar's Chimin", by W. C. Handy, the
father of the "Blues".
Next, perhaps, the impresario himself
goes to the piano, and leans over toward
the solo microphone which is swung across
the piano-top on a two-by-four plank
studio "set-up" designed especially for
Robison's own crooning style. He goes
into one of his most notable studies in
modernistic harmonies, "Head Low".
Breathing softly into the microphone, he
becomes an old revivalist, busily "rasslin'
with Satan and savin' souls!" Camp
meeting is in full swing after the first few
bars ; traffic is heavy on the sawdust trail.
Then evening shadows lengthen in the
swamplands, lights twinkle in the cabins as
dusk falls in the canebrake, and a song of
lament rises 'from the lowlands. Willard
Robison's orchestra plays Rube Bloom's
prize-winning "Song of the Bayou".
Released from the misty spell of the
Mississippi swamps by the inevitable
"brief pause for station announcements",
heralded nowadays by the melody of
chimes, listeners next hear the voices of
four young men, lullingly keyed to the
strains of "Oh, Miss Hannah". The fact
that they are carefully attired in dinner
jackets, singing into a metal box in a room
with modernistic appointments, fails to
destroy for listeners the atmosphere of
the Deep South. The young men in this
quartet, incidentally, are Victor Hall and
Randolph Weyant, tenors; Ken Christie,
baritone, and Bob Moody, bass.
By way of sparkling conclusion, Willard
Robison may choose as his finale for this
characteristic Maxwell House period a
syncopated medley from a current New
York musical show..
We have to assume that Whiteman had given his blessing to what would otherwise be "wildcatting" sessions if indeed Robison and/or other members of his orchestra, as well as Bill Challis, were involved in the session.
How unusual was this situation?
.... Paul Whiteman in 1925. Whiteman was a supporter of what Robison was doing as a creator of American music. Thus, I am guessing that the use of Whiteman's musicians in Robison's recording was not an example of wild-catting, but it came with Whiteman's approval.
.... of the two recordings.
To my ears, the trumpet player is Harry Goldfield. Chet Hazlett's, who replaced Ross Gorman in the Whiteman orchestra in May 1925, does his terrific work on subtone clarinet. Rust gives Quinn on guitar in the recording of Head Low. There is clearly a banjoist in the Head Low recording, and I am pretty sure that the banjoist is Mike Pingitore. I don't hear a banjo in We'll Have A New Home In The Morning. I believe I hear a guitar. What do others hear?
I love Robison's style of singing and his interesting compositions. These are vocal recordings with interesting accompaniments. Thank you very much, Nick. I appreciate your invaluable contributions to the Bixography Forum.
This version of "We'll Have a New Home in the Morning" is available on Brad Kay's excellent Robison collection (and if you haven't ordered that CD from him, what are you waiting for?). "Head Low" I hadn't heard before, but it's equally beautiful. I love Willard Robison as singer, songwriter and arranger and only wish he'd used Bix on his records more than once! BTW, I agree with Albert's identifications of Hazlett (though it sounded to me like he was playing bass clarinet here) and Pingitore but I have a hard time believing that the marvelous hot trumpet on "Head Low" is Goldfield. (And no, I'm NOT starting a rumor that it was Bix, either!) I also don't think Bill Challis was involved in these records, though the arrangements aren't that different from his work. Robison was an excellent arranger in his own right and I'm sure the scores were his.
There is no date for this photo from the Gennett Records facebook page. This group of musicians made records for Gennett in 1925. Compare with the photo of the Wolverines in the same studio in 1924.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 13, 2013 1:17 PM|
These are, ostensibly, the recordings of "Sugar" by Paul Whiteman with Bix..
It ain't Paul and it ain't Bix either. And it ain't the tune that Whiteman recorded. It is the Red and Miff Stompers recording of another tune by the same name. It is the tune recorded by Red and Tram in a deal they made in Oct 1927.
The bass drum used by Vic Moore was a Ludwig bass drum with original, factory-painted head. Here is an image in glorious technicolor. (Not Vics original drum, but a different one restored.)
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 12, 2013 9:40 AM|
.... African-American press.
In a letter to Louis Armstrong, McCall writes that he played drums with Bix. Take a look at this from the louisarmstronghouse.org website.
.... Donaldson and Kahn.
Walter Donaldson (Feb 15, 1893 Brooklyn, NY Jul 15, 1947 Santa Monica, CA) composed about 600 songs for Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and Hollywood. Some of his best-known songs are My Mammy; Carolina in the Morning; Yes Sir, Thats My Baby; My Blue Heaven. Donaldson was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
Gus Kahn (Nov 6, 1886 Koblenz, Germany Oct 8, 1941 Beverly Hills CA) was a lyricist who wrote about 350 songs for Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and Hollywood. Some of his best-known songs are Pretty Baby; It Had to Be You; Makin Whoopee; San Francisco. Kahn was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn collaborated in more than 100 songs. Bix recorded several songs penned by Donaldson, Kahn or by both: Oh Baby! (D); Susie (K); I Need Some Pettin (K); There Aint No Land Like Dixieland (D); Changes (D); Mary (D); A Shady Tree (D); Chloe (K); Coquette (K); My Ohio Home (D&K; Fox Movietone News); Japanese Mammy (D & K); Because My Baby Dont Mean Maybe Now (D); Borneo (D); Out Of Town Girl (D); Im Bringing A Red Red Rose (D & K); Reaching for Someone (D).
Japanese Mammy was recorded by Paul Whiteman on May 22, 1928 (four takes, all rejected) and June 10, 1928 (three additional takes, take 6 was mastered. Listen
Bix present but does not solo. Here is the excellent version by Allan Selby and His Band.
These guys clearly were listening to Bix and Tram. I hear a fragment of I'm Coming Virginia at 1:07. Are the trumpet duets at 2:11 and 2:34 played in unison?
As far as I know, there is only one other recording of the tune in the 1920s in the US: that by Chuck Campbell (Lou Gold) for Harmony 725-H. Surprising in view of the interest at the time about exotic tunes. There is one recording in Australia found in the CD "Melbourne in the 1920's." I don't know anything more about this recording.
.... as Greystone. It is Graystone with an "a."
A promotional photo of McKinney's Cotton Pickers, the renowned Graystone house band, at the Graystone's fountain
Some of the above serve also to demolish the misconception, held by some, that the McKinney's Cotton Pickers was a Chicago-based orchestra.
Night Hawk Blues. 1924-04-05, Kansas City, Missouri.
A harbinger of things to come.
Intending to send Albert a CDR of this, so Brad (and all the Forum readers) could hear it, nevertheless I found that this recording is up on YouTube! (In a decent transfer, too). So, without further ado, here are the prep school kids of Hotchkiss School performing "San", on (fittingly) April 1, 1931:
Upon hearing it again, it's really not so horribly bad - especially when you know the ages of the performers! The banjo and piano are pretty decent, and they perform spiritedly (if rather out of tune). Be alert for that REALLY clunky drum break near the end, which is pretty laugh-worthy. (BTW he obviously did not own a set of cymbals, as you will hear).
The Hotchkiss School is an independent, coeducational American college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891, the school enrolls students in grades 9 through 12 and a small number of postgraduates.
Address: 11 Interlaken Rd, Lakeville, CT 06039
Friday Open 24 hours - See all
Nonprofit category: Secondary/High School
Phone: (860) 435-2591
Founder: Maria Bissell Hotchkiss
.... Hotchkiss School Dance Orchestra is available in
There is a terrible vocal by a group of students here.
You can hear a different piece here.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 8, 2013 3:58 PM|
This Hotchkiss School version of "San" is right up to the middling standard set by Jack Warner, Jr. and his Beverly Hills Ramblers - the same degree of out-of-tune-ness, the same plodding drum beat, the same dogged determination and "team spirit." With a little effort, one might assemble an album of High School orchestras from over the decades, each attempting to "swing" or "jazz" or even "rock," that show exactly the same degree of ernest callowness.
For instance, I have a record of "Mary Washington Stomp" by the dance band from the school of the same name, ca. 1941. More of the same, and yet even worse dreadful, because their model is Count Basie and his Orchestra, whose precision riffs they bungle and smear at every opportunity. It's part of an album of "Dire" music I've been assembling for years.
I give em the big E for effort.
A composition by the great Dorothy Fields - Jimmy McHugh team.
The version by the High Hatters.
From the musical of the same name
- The entry in the idbd website: http://ibdb.com/production.php?id=11165
- A review: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tfbuioz531vliow/NYSunReviewSinginTheBlues.pdf
.... Con Conrad's and Russell Robinson's "Singin' the Blues."
Listen at 3:08 for the Geechie Call. The intro is taken from the Bix and Tram version.
Having scanned over numerous 'Geechie Call' citations in this blog, I have an impression of what the phrase is understood to describe.
Still, would you describe for me (-simply, would be fine, don't spend a lot of detail for, unless you wish) what you mean by the phrase 'Geechie Call,' and, who/what/where coined the phrase? [I'm aware of the term 'geechie,' have and use dictionaries, etc.]
Looking forward to anyone's description, to see how it compares with my perception. Thanks any/everyone.
"I'd love to hear all the spottings you guys can come up with."
In his book "Jazz From the Beginning," Bushell provides his discography. Following the listing of Edith Wilson's (accompanied by Johnny Dunn) "Vampin' Liza Jane," Bushell writes, "Hear Johnny Dunn do that old Geechie call?"
Listen to the recording, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rssfQacEWVE Do you hear the Geechie Call? I don't hear it explicitly, just sort of implied. Does that make sense?
Hi mr. Fred, how are you.
It's true what the "Geechie" call is very cited in this forum, primarly by the forum's owner the sir Albert Haim. I don't know when was the first Geechie Call's mention in the forum, but i think, was an post made by the Mr. Albert Haim in October of 2011, about an coincidence between "Rainy Night" by the Washingtonians (Duke Ellington's early band) in 1924 and the classic "Davenport Blues" by Bix and his Rhythm Jugglers. Both solos are similar, especially in the last part of "Rainy Nights" made by Bubber Miley, who was aparently an early influence on Bix.
I don't descript the solo, because i don't have musical experience, but i could recognize in other recordings in who appears the phrase. E.g.
1)"Natcherly" by Leon Selph's Blue Ridge Playboys. Recorded in March 12, 1941 for Vocalion Records in Forth Worth, TX. The phrase appears in the intro of the song and is extremly rare who the phrase appears in a not-jazz song by a not-jazz band and by not wind instrument (Eddie Lang used the phrase in a 1927's recording with a female singer what now i don't remember his name). This is a western swing band, who recorded between 1936-1942, and was one of the first band to include electric guitar on his repertoire. Two guitarist, Herman Standlee and the later popular Floyd Tillman (who was well-know for write his first hit-song "It Makes No Difference Now", 1939) recorded with electric guitar in the November's recording sessions. Other guitarist who recorded with an electric guitar was Bob Symons, who accompanied to the honky-tonk singer Al Dexter in his first recordings, also from November 1936. And was recording in a western swing trio named "The Nite Owls", formed by Symons, guitarist Luke Owens and bassist Jack True from 1937 to 1938. Back to the theme, the solo is made by the musician (banjoist-guitarist) Gus Plant, who was the banjoist in the first organization of the band. From the 1941's sessions, he was playing electric guitar, and "Natcherly" was one of include this instrument. Hear the full song here:
Gus Plant has the typical guitar style from the late 1930s and early 1940s (acoustically), not very influenced by Charlie Christian and others jazz guitarist who started recording with electric guitar in 1938 (Eddie Durham, Leonard Ware, George Barnes), and not forget what the electric guitar was first recorded by western swing musicians in 1935 (in contrast to Jimmie Lunceford's recording of "Hittin' the Bottle" (This have a connection to Bix, this song was recorded by Frankie's Orchestra in 1930)where the great Eddie Durham is erroneously credited to use an electric guitar in this October 1935 recording, really he was using an resonator style guitar, used before by hawaiians great like Sol Hoopii and Andy Iona).
2)"Jazz Lips" by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five. Recorded in November 16, 1926 for OKeh Records. This one of the best Louis' recording in my opinion, the typical New Orleans-style or Dixieland, with a great set of musicians (Kid Ory, Baby and Johnny Dodds, Lil). The geechie phrase appears in the first minute, precisely in the 01:09 of the recording. The cornet/trumpet solo is very clear but fast, and this to me, one of most easily recognized in my opinion.
I have juxapositon of this song, first Bix Davenport Blues and later Louis Hot Five's Jazz lips, but i don't know how upload the clip to the site. If anyone knows, say me.
Greetings from Argentina.
Very interesting. Indeed Louis plays a fragment of the Geechie call in his recording of "Hot Lips."
dropbox.com is a free site where you can upload mp3 files and then provide a link in your posting. There are other sites. soundcloud.com is popular. If you have your own website, you upload the file to your website and provide the link in your posting.
Vivi muchos años en el Uruguay (en los 40 y 50). Visite la Argentina varias veces. En los 90 di conferencias en las Universidades de Tucuman, Buenos Aires y Mar del Plata.
Muchas gracias por la bienvenida, señor Albert.
Me alegro de que usted haya visitado mi país y que haya vivido en Uruguay, en donde vivió Manuel Salsamendi (Leyendo un post suyo, sr Haim, el realizó una de las 5 primeras grabaciones de "In A Mist" de Bix), fue uno de los primeros en grabar el clásico de Bix "In a Mist" ("En una Neblina") en 1933. Los representantes de jazz en mi país, lamentablemente, son pocos, a excepción en la escena contemporánea como el Gato Barbieri y la banda de Luis Alberto Spinetta, Spinetta Jade. Me gustaría conocer más acerca de los orígenes del jazz en mi país, el cuál yo sito en los años 20.
Muchas gracias también por el sitio. Próximamente subiré el archivo con la yuxtaposición.
Saludos desde Argentina.
I'll be enjoying looking-up/listening-to some of your cited recordings soon, Elian. No question, the phrase turns up repeatedly in popular music recordings from the era.
In mind, play the melody to the beginning strains of "Dixie"... or "Frankie and Johnnie"... "Amazing Grace"... no end of examples sounding vaguely similar with the phrase.
Dubbing a moniker to a fragment of melody, that's kind of a 'new one' to me. If I try to think of another example of name-applied-to-musical-phrase, offhand nothing comes to mind. Maybe the "blue note...," if two notes can be a phrase.
My post on this was not to disagree with or dispute anyone about "geechie call," really, as much as to solicit contributors' definition.
here is the juxtaposition of the "Geechie" call in the Louis and His Hot Five recording of "Jazz Lips", in Dropbox.
And thanks for the clarification, i don't know how this interesting musical phrase.
Greetings from Argentina for the United States brothers.
Te most clear and cleanly executed version of the phrase that comes to my mind is this:
Joe Smith accompanying Bessie Smith in "Young Woman's Blues".
one of the lead trumpeter of the Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra in 1923, (except in 1924, when Armstrong was with the band), 1925, 1926 in onwards.
According to various sources, he was an early influence on Bix's lyrical style. Is true?. I was listening the Henderson's recordings from 1923, 1925 and 1926 and don't hear some influence in the Bix's lyrical style.
But, i like some recordings, e.g., "Stampede", first recorded by the The Dixie Stompers (an Henderson small group) in May 14, 1926 for Harmony.
In this recording, the Joe Smith's cornet sound and tone is (in my humble opinion) similar to Phil Napoleon and Louis Armstrong, but no closely to Bix.
Only one question, who influenced who? Bix on Joe? or Joe on Bix? .
Greetings from Argentina.
Most of our auditory sightings of the Geechee call have been from Jazz Age recordings. But it seems the venerable lick is alive and well into our own time.
I chanced upon a 2004 live recording at a New Jersey Jazz Society event in which Kenny Davern reproduced the call clearly and elegantly as he soloed on "Am I Blue," at 6:19-6:22 and again at 4:38-4:42.
The Call Lives!
From the NPR website:
Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.
Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.
In yesterday's program Vince Giordano was interviewed. The complete interview available here.
PS See also http://bixography.com/inforrelated.htm#VinceGiordano
.... Vince Giordano.
Feelin' No Pain is a very interesting and advanced composition by Fud Livingston. Miff and Red must have liked this piece very much, witness the fact that they recorded it four times within two months. In chronological order:
- Aug 15, 1927. Red Nichols and His Five Pennies.
- Aug 30, 1927. Miff Mole's Molers.
- Sep 7, 1927. Charleston Chasers.
- Oct 12, 1927. Red and Miff Stompers.
These guys don't repeat themselves. All versions somewhat different from each other. If I were asked, which is your favorite, I would respond: ALL!! Red, Miff, Pee Wee, Fud and Vic Berton present in all the recordings. Are all the versions arranged by Fud, the composer of the tune?
As far as I know, there are only two other recordings of this tune in the 1920s.
- Lud Gluskin in Paris on Mar 16, 1928.
Sol Hoppi Trio in Los Angeles on Mar 27, 1928.
I hope you enjoy this feast of "Feelin' No Pain."
The Red Nichols and His Five Pennies recording Brunswick 6819, 3626 and 80069 (reissue series) has matrix number E24235. It was also issued as by Red Nichols and His Five Pennies on Vocalion 15622. In addition it was released as by the Red Heads on Oriole 2530, Perfect 15648, Banner 3251, Romeo 1901 and Melotone 12443.
I've found some interesting information about Ben Selvin taken from the Metronome Magazine number 22 of November 15 of 1926 via Glen Richards's Vintage Jazz and Hot Dance Page with the following link:
I'll reproduce the words about Selvin written by Gordon Whyte on the section called 'Round The Rialto With The Orchestras:
"Selvin at Café de Paris: Ben Selvin will again be at the Café de Paris this season. Ben made a big hit there last season and his re-engagement is a consequence of that. Frank Cush has joined Ben. He was formerly trumpeter with the California Ramblers & Jack Albin's Orchestra. He replaces Earl Oliver. Frank is known as one of the best wah-wah artists in the country".
Well, if Cush was also with Jack Albin after leaving the California Ramblers, i believe that he recorded with him for Edison on 1926.
There's also a mention about Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra here, whose words i'll reproduce:
"Goldkette at the Roseland: Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra are playing at the Roseland and have scored a terrific success. They are also recording for Victor and recently gave a program over the WEAF. Their success was so great in the air that the station inmediately wanted to fix another recording date, but the record company put its foot down the scheme. The personnel of the band is as follows: Fred Farrar (aka Fuzzy Farrar), Ray Lodwig, Bix Beiderbecke (misspelled Biederbocke), trumpets; William Rank (aka Bill Rank), trombone; Stanley Ryker (aka Doc Ryker), Frank Trumbauer, Donald Murray, saxophones; Irving Riskin, piano; Chauncey Morehouse (misspelled Moorehouse), drums; Howard Quicksell, banjo; Steve Brown, string bass and Charles Horvath, manager".
Whyte forgot to mention that Newell Lynn "Spiegle" Wilcox was also present in the band.
Hope this helps!
Javier Soria Laso
Another example that destroys the myth that Bix's name was mentioned only twice in the press when he was alive.
For the convenience of readers, here is a direct link to the page with the transcriptions you provided. In tha page some more fascinating stuff.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 5, 2013 12:31 PM|
This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 5, 2013 12:30 PM
I wonder if Bernard Shirley & Richard Johnson's book titled "American Dance Bands On Record and Film 1915-1942" would have included that information?
Anyway, i think is absolutely interesting that Selvin hired Cush for his group.
I suppose that Cush was present on Jack Albin's first recordings made for Edison on 1926.
Javier Soria Laso
In a site usually dedicated to technical appreciation of 20s jazz music, I hope posting a bit of unadulterated fan mail might be occasionally tolerated. Thank you, Mr. Haim, for reprising the Rhythmic Eight's version of I'm Coming Virginia in WBIX #216.
Dancing with someone would be better; but when listening to 2/4-time music alone, tapping your feet and snapping your fingers isn't the only thing you can do some of which activities may increase the flexibility of your spine.
Creating a WBIX program involves a lot of work and time. Some of it is pure joy, choosing the tunes, listening to them. There is also a lot of boring computer work: saving the files, changing formats, uploading, typing the description, etc. Comments such as yours make it all worthwhile and I appreciate your taking the time to write.
In view of your kind remarks, I hate to do this, but we don't want to have misconceptions. The version of I'm Coming Viriginia played in WBIX # 217 was by Fred Spinnelly. And here he is, holding a copy of the record that you and I enjoyed so much.
.... "There's A Cradle in Caroline" by the Rhythmic Eight. Yes, a fantastic recording with the Fabulous Finn doing what he does best.
Thanks to the generosity of Bill, Tram's grandson, I uploaded some more material.
Note also that Bill is accepting bids for some of the items described in the page.
Self-taught on cornet, trumpeter Beiderbecke was an early jazz improvisational prodigy of sorts. He was also difficult to work with, a raging alcoholic (despite Prohibition) tried to quit, suffered the DTs, and (after declaring that Mexicans with long knives were hiding under his bed) died at the age of 22, likely from a combination of alcohol poisoning and a form of pneumonia. In other words, people who knew Beiderbecke said he was a self-destructive asshole, while praising his talent.
All said with authority. The usual blend of errors, undocumented assertions and emphasis on the negative aspects of Bix's life. In addition, in this case, ad hominem attacks.
"Difficult to work with." Invariably most Bix 's fellow musicians had nothing but positive words about working with Bix.
"Asshole." Definition from the Oxford dictionary. "a stupid or unpleasant person" All documentation demonstrates that Bix was a highly intelligent individual and well-liked by all who knew him.
Good grief. I am distressed. In spite of all efforts to demolish myths and misconceptions about Bix, the tide of pure, unadulterated crap does not recede.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 3, 2013 8:28 AM|
You know what I think? A lot of the people writing so-called biographical articles about Bix or telling their wretchedly untrue anecdotes about him were assholes.
What a catalogue of baleful misinformation, shading into disinformation with the ad hominems. Poor Bix indeed!
By coincidence I've just read the newly-published book, "More Important Than The Music - A History of Jazz Discography" (Bruce D. Epperson, University of Chicago Press), and was astonished to Bix see listed (p.35) as a clarinet player! I suspect this is possibly a case of bad editing, as the book also informs that Armstrong joined Oliver in Chicago in 1924, that Ma Rainey recorded for Columbia, and that Charles Delaunay compiled his discography of Django in 1981, rather than the actual 1961.
The real problem is that once this sort of nonsense infects the bloodstream of the media it's all but impossible to eradicate.
Welcome to the world of Internet blogs where anybody with a data connection can write any stupid thing that comes into his mind. More than ever before, we have to consider the SOURCES of information. We can't put the Genie back in the bottle but we can decide which bottle to reach for.
.... results in lot of crap being passed for fact. However, I will point out that even before the internet, errors were common in the printed media. The American Society started a column in one of its journals (Journal of Chemical Education) in 1966 with the title "Textbook Errors." By 1980, a decade before the world wide web was a reality, there were 138 articles pointing out various relatively serious errors included in at least two commonly used chemistry textbooks. One chemistry professor would give extra credit to students who reported errors in the textbook used in the course. I published half a dozen articles in the Journal regarding various common errors. The two most important, in my opinion,
The relative energies of molecular orbitals for second-row homonuclear diatomic molecules: The effect of s-p mixing.
J. Chem. Educ., 1991, 68, p 737
Catalysis: New Reaction Pathways not just a lowering of the activation energy.
J. Chem. Educ. 1989, 66, p 935.
The discouraging and frustrating fact: ten years after these articles were published, there were still new textbooks that included the errors pointed out in my articles!!
If things were bad years ago in the narrow field of chemistry. extrapolate to the present and to a miriad subjects: the informationt in the internet is full of errors, misinformation and lies. And it is likely to get worse as more and more unqualified people and/or people pushing agendas write in open forums, web pages, social groups, blogs, tweets, etc, etc. Not a very bright future. Joe, there will be so many bottles with polluted, toxic, rotting liquids in them that it will be difficult, at best, to find the bottles with the reliable information.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 3, 2013 2:37 PM|
It's interesting,after reading your "Poor Bix" thread and all its responses, to then read the Sunday, December 2, 1928 entry from Tram's diary contained in your subsequent posting.
The words of a disheartened man because of Bix's very recent episode (Nov 30, Cleveland). Bix's breakdown from alcohol intoxication was so severe that Paul Whiteman had to call a doctor. This was not a case of ordinary excessive drinking, and I can understand Tram feeling defeated about his efforts to help Bix with his drinking problem. In view of Tram's positive statements about Bix throughout their career together, the diary entry is certainly an anomaly. Here are some statements transcribed from Tram's biography by Evans and Kiner with William Trumbauer. These are Tram's own words.
- The 1925-1926 period in St. Louis. "I want to say right here for the record that this was the happiest and healthiest period in our lives. I made him assistant leader of the band. We played golf, rode horses, and he didn't have a drink for months at a time."
- About being hired by Goldkette in 1926. Horvath was concerned about Bix's difficulty in reading during the November 1924 period. Tram told Horvath: "He (Bix) can read arrangements now. Tell you what! Bix will be my responsibility and I won't accept the job without him."
- About their first recordings for OKeh. "For some time Bix and I had plans to make some recordings, and here was our chance."
- About Bix's recording of "In A Mist." "Back in St. Louis, Bix used to play a piano solo for me and I suggested that he recorded it in one of our dates.
- About Tram being frustrated by Bix's drinking in late 1928. "Bix was now getting out of hand, and Paul asked me to try and straighten him out. I promised that I would do my best, but that wasn't enough. What influence I ever had with Bix was now gone!"
- About Bix after the 1928 breakdown. "Even though Bix and I went on different paths at the end of 1928, we were still closer than most people thought. Whenever there was trouble, he always found me, and I tried to help him in every way possible."
- About Bix after he died. "Bix's greatest admirer next to me, was Paul Whiteman. Bix was an intelligent young man, a fast thinker, and well versed in many things."
In conclusion, let me add what Bill Trumbauer, Tram's grandson, wrote to me on Oct 9, 2013:
"One thing I want to say, and you may post it, is that last diary entry about Bix. I'm sure Frank was at wit's end. They had been constant friends and musicians together for a number of years. They had a good thing going and in Frank's mind I am positive he still loved Bix but felt let down, thus the harsh few words. If people could only hear that WOC '53 Bix Tribute recording they could see how much everyone loved and care for Bix. Not only as a musician but a great person."
First of all, the post that started this thread had virtually nothing to do with Bix. It was from a blog about Hugh Masekela and its author was only interested in Bix in passing, as the person who had supposedly inspired the movie "Young Man with a Horn," which Masekela saw in his youth and apparently inspired him to take up trumpet playing as a potential career. So the author probably just did a quick Web search on Bix, grabbed a few quick "facts" without being too concerned about whether they were accurate or not, made the ludicrous claim that Bix died at 22 (if he had, he would never have recorded at all and he'd be the sort of foggy legend Emmett Hardy is!) and grabbed that salacious detail from the Sudhalter and Evans biography (probably filtered through several sources of considerably less reliability before he got hold of it) about Bix hallucinating Mexicans with knives under his bed just before he croaked.
But when I read the reference to Bix as an "asshole" I couldn't help but flash back to the Frank Trumbauer diary entry recently posted to this site in which Trumbauer, one of Bix's closest musical associates and best friends, called Bix a "no-good bum" whom he had tried to help but was now washing his hands of and saying, "Now he will just have to suffer." That just goes to show you what befriending (or, even worse, falling in love with) an alcoholic or drug abuser can do to you. People who abuse substances often go through stark changes of personality, sometimes to levels approaching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (a book written by Robert Louis Stevenson at a time when heroin and cocaine were still legal, and their bad effects were just becoming known; I'm sure at some level Stevenson intended "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" at least in part as a just-say-no tale!), and it's entirely consistent with what we know about alcohol and alcoholics that Bix may have been warm, lovable and charming when sober, and a holy terror and a totally obnoxious person when drunk.
Having lived through an intimate relationship with an alcoholic who eventually died of its effects, I think I know whereof I speak. It's entirely believable that Trumbauer could have said all the nice things he did about Bix in his diary, how genuinely proud he was of his association with Bix when they were working together and he was both productive and sober, how he could get exasperated with Bix's self-destructive streak and ultimately wash his hands of him. It's also believable that 22 years after Bix died he'd repressed all the bad memories and remembered the good stuff, including feeling justifiable pride in the jazz masterpieces he and Bix had created together. "Asshole" was probably too vulgar a word for Trumbauer to have used in 1928, even in a private diary, but it's clear Tram was all too aware of Bix's enormous talent, of his intellect and personal charm when he wasn't drinking, and his self-destructiveness when he WAS drinking.
.... in Phil Evans second book (Bix, The Leon Beiderbecke Story). Since in his own words, "In this book I can correct the misinformation and mistakes contained in the previous book." (Sudhalter and Evans, Bix, Man and Legend), the story of the Mexicans ostensibly does not represent "misinformation and mistakes." However, I hasten to add that the only source of this story is rental agent George Kraslow.
Given that it's appeared twice in the works of Philip Evans, who researched Bix's life so diligently he probably knew more about Bix's life than anyone who ever lived other than Bix himself, I'm not questioning Evans' reporting of the story. I meant that the author of the Masekela blog probably didn't get it from either of Evans' books, but from an Internet source several steps removed from the work of our diligent researcher.
Since it is such a fanciful story, I thought it was important to point out that it was included in Evans' second book. This story is found also in the Wikipedia article about Bix, perhaps the source for the blog I cited.
I hope the writer of that blog is appropriately embarrassed at his big blooper stating that Bix died at age 22. That one scored 5 DUHs on the dumbbell scale.
If he got his "information" from the Wikipedia article carefully re-written by Brendan Wolfe a couple of years ago, he might have bothered to note Bix's birth date and page down a screen or two and note that Bix was still alive and recording after 1925, when the blog writer would have had him already deceased.
Do the math, buddy!
Kraslow's memory of that evening was related in April 1959.
On a hot New York August evening, Bix, in his apartment, with no air conditioning and in the throes of a third day of pneumonia, and suffering delirium tremens and hallucinations, well it's quite conceivable the Mexican's under the bed account actually happened.
Kraslow's memory was of "Bix's hysterical shouts brought me to his apartment on the run. He was screaming there were two Mexicans hiding under his bed with long daggers. To humor him I looked under the bed and when I arose to assure him there was no one hiding there, he staggered and fell, a dead weight, in my arms".
That was Kraslow's recollection of events of that tragic evening some 28 years later. Over the passing years time does play tricks on our memories. Phil Evans was dedicated to sorting the facts from the many myths that surrounded Bix's life. He wouldn't have included the story in his biography unless he believed it was a reasonably true account.
Nick sends a link to this article about Bix. This is not internet crap, but pseudo-journalistic in print crap. Thanks Nick. Poor Bix!
...you have to admit it's REALLY GREAT bullshit!
-- Bix didn't even like to smoke pot after he'd tried it, according to his friends' reports (can't cite exactly, but I'd read in Evans & Evans and so forth) -- even punching the jerk who kept persistently asking, "How are the muggles?" Booze was Bix's thing for a high.
I bet there's outrageous, outlandish craploads of stories about Bix from 60-70 years ago which never made the papers and long stopped making the rounds among musicians who liked to lie about legends, that are still hanging in a miasma of some forgotten backstage locker room. Can you imagine some of those yarns people must have told about him which we never (thank God) even heard of?
I must say that when I first read of Bix's well-documented revulsion towards marijuana I couldn't help thinking, "Maybe if pot instead of alcohol had been Bix's drug of choice, he would have lived as long as Louis Armstrong!"
Now it is available on you tube.
I found this in facebook. And this is what I wrote:
Fantastic version of this great song.The violin is not mentioned in the youtube video description. I love the obbligatos behind the vocal. The sax break after Annette's vocal is reminiscent of Trumbauer's style. I wanted to hear this recording three years ago. Now I have, multiple times. Thanks, Martin!
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 3, 2013 6:14 AM|
It's always nice to hear a "new" Annette! Hopefully someday the complete Annette series started by Jeff Healey will be completed.
Vince G. tipped me off about this, and he wondered out loud if maybe this was a Fud Livingston arrangement. The intro alone is a huge clue that it probably is. Compare it to Fud's chart for "Doin' Things" by Joe Venuti's New Yorkers:
You hear very similar instrumental textures, voicings, cadences. I second the nomination. Fud was at the peak of his creativity in '27-'28 and it shows.
Annette is lovely as always, and for a Perfect / Pathé 78, this is a beautiful transfer.
Brad, I was struck by the same Fud-like characteristics that you and Vince heard. The intro and other parts of "Japanese Sandman" contain characteristics from the All Star Orchestra recording of "My Melancholy Baby", which is a Fud arrangement - listen here, and note the intro and interlude just before the vocal:
.... is all over the place in these recordings. In particular, in the All Star Orchestra's Melancholy Baby, I hear all kinds of fragments that remind of pieces in Bix and Tram recordings.
Bix and Tram's Humpty Dumpty and Krazy Kat were arranged by Fud. Jubilee was arranged by Willard Robison.
.... oboe at 1:03-1:23? Did Fud use oboes in some of his arrangements?
And what is what I hear behind Annette at 1:53, bell-like?
The oboe, an instrument often used to evoke the exotic east, plays here through the arrangement till shortly before the vocal, then plays behind Annette, with one or two clinkers characteristic of that instrument, up to 1:53 when what sounds like a muted trumpet takes over for a few bars before the oboe returns.
Art Hickman recorded Japanese Sandman (with an intro to Avalon) on Oct 1, 1920 (Col A3322) . Included is a long oboe rendition of the verse and chorus. Listen
Other examples of oboe useage in jazz or dance band records?
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 4, 2013 8:24 AM|
"Other examples of oboe usage in jazz or dance band records?"
Edward "Poggy" Pogson in Jack Hylton's "Forget Me Not"(the only Bixian oboe solo ever recorded!) and "Pardon the Glove".
Arnold Brilhart in The Dorsey Brothers' "Persian Rug"
Rube Crozier in Joe Venuti's "Chant Of The Jungle"
Talking of double reed instruments, there are also hot solos on bassoon of course, thanks to Tram in particular, and there is at least one hot heckelphone solo played by....well, see if you can name the recording first! However, I've never come across a hot Cor Anglais solo!
While on the subject of unusual instruments (at least in the world of jazz and dance music), apart from those played by Adrian Rollini, how many other hot goofus and hot fountain pen solos can you think of? There are a few.
.... of the Willard-Annette Perfect recording of Japanese Sandman, courtesy of Han Enderman.
I love it: Vocal Chorus, "Annette" Reminds of Singin' the Blues, "With Bix and Lang." How many musicians were credited with their first name only in 1920s recordings?
Thanks, Han. I appreciate all your help.
PS Chris Ellis in the liners for the CD "Vocal Refrain by Annette Hanshaw," RTR 79073 writes,
"Willard Robison was another colleague that Annette liked and admired both as a person and a musician and told me she enjoyed working with him. It shows. What also shows is the much more relaxed and interesting sound of the orchestra and the choice of better material. Songs like There aint no sweet man suit Annette beautifully as does that great 1920 oldie The Japanese Sandman."
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 3, 2013 10:37 AM|
There are numerous audio/sonic indicators that provide corroborative evidence that the audio file used in the YouTube video of "Japanese Sandman" by Willard Robison and his Orchestra is taken from the recently released Retrieval CD "Vocal Refrain by Annette Hanshaw 1927-1929". No acknowledgement is given in the video or the accompanying description to this effect. Brad rightly highlights the high quality of the transfer of this Annette Hanshaw track. All the restoration work on the Annette Hanshaw CD was carried out by Harry Coster, who is Retrieval's main audio engineer.
If credit is given on YouTube videos of ripped CD tracks, there is an argument that this can actually help sales of the original CD, but where none is given obviously it is potentially damaging. When this omission occurs, YouTube are not necessarily to blame. Unless it is pointed out to them, they may be unaware of the fact that the uploaded audio file is taken from a commercial CD; if they are informed that there is a potential issue then they will consider removing the video (or, more specifically, the audio component).
Of course, online providers like YouTube provide a beneficial, easily accessed means through which people can hear a wide range of music, such as early jazz and dance music, which they might not be readily exposed to otherwise. Often, individual collectors will transfer and upload recordings from their own private collections of 78s, and accompany these with well produced videos. In this respect, the rise of online providers such as YouTube offers a positive additional means by which music can be accessed and enjoyed.
On the downside, several small specialist companies I know well, which release CDs of 1920s and 1930s music, tell me that many of their CDs have been ripped and the individual tracks then supplied to well known online streaming/music download companies (no connection to YouTube) by third parties without the permission of the original company, who receive nothing by way of financial compensation when the tunes are subsequently downloaded by customers (who pay a fee to the online streaming company for the digital download). The owner of one of these small companies has told me that it is ruining his CD sales and that despite protestations the online providers have, as yet, done nothing to remove the tracks concerned.
It is perhaps telling that the US market has experienced a drop in CD album sales (as opposed to singles) across all music genres from 800 million in 2002 to just 316 million in 2012, with most analysts identifying cheap or free streaming services as the main reason for the broad declines. The market for CD reissues of 1920s and 1930s jazz in miniscule as it is, and with few radio stations playing the music nowadays to encourage new audiences, sales are shrinking at an alarming rate.
The situation that small specialist CD labels find themselves in does not bode well. Indeed, a number have ceased trading in recent years, and it is highly likely that others, including ones that forumites will be very familiar with, will follow within the next few years. Meanwhile, the major record companies are totally disinterested in this specialist market, and one can hardly blame them when such CDs often only generate sales in the low to mid-hundreds.
I had no idea (but am not totally surprised) to learn that when a person downloads one or two songs from a CD from, say Amazon, the individual tunes could have been ripped without compensation to the producer. I've never downloaded an album from a free/sharing source. I've just paid the $.89-.99 charge for each song, but I agree that a share of that would not be fair compensation to the producer of a 1920s music album.
I've sometimes been guilty of being so eager to get my ears on some albums that I downloaded the whole thing on the spot instead of ordering the physical CD and waiting for it. I won't do that again.
Amazon is not one of the online providers that I am - albeit obliquely - referring to in my previous post. Just wanted to make that clear.
With modern computers and readily available software, it has become child's play to copy and paste or rip and ulpoad. Of course, as a trained scientist, I insist that sources be supplied with the postings. Unfortunately, few people bother with this.
One problem with online photos or writings is that the copyright owner (if any) is not easy to know. When you see a photo in a book or periodical, there is usually a caption with photo credits, or a list of photo credits somewhere in the text. There is rarely such a caption online.
For example, Albert, you posted a high-resolution photo of the Wolverines yesterday. If I were to want to use it, I could just credit it to your site, but I really have no way to know if indeed it is out of copyright (given its age, it would by now not be copyrighted to the original photographer). If the photo has been edited in any way, does the copyright then belong to the person or entity who made those changes and published it online? What about photos that have never been published? Do they "belong" to the owner of the physical original once they are posted on a website not maintained by the owner, or does the online image then "belong" to the site? This can get pretty complex, especially if such photos go from screen to screen. If I go to a site called, for example, "Vintage Photos of Seattle" and there is nothing that says the photos may not be copied, can we assume they are in public domain? Or do they "belong" to the organization behind that website? How could a well-meaning person find out? Many such sites have no "Contact Us" buttons that would lead to even an e-mail address. Outside of authors and editors publishing print items, that is why, as you say, "few people bother."
Most people will follow rules if everyone knows and agrees to them. If anyone has a brief guide that non-lawyers might follow for sharing photos and other such items, I'd like to see it.
The record label, thanks to Han Endeman.
Again, just "Annette" credited.
The Atlanta Constitution of June 23, 1928 reported that "Frank Black, pianist, will play Beiderbeckes In A Mist with orchestral accompaniment." The broadcast tookThe Palmolive ensemble under the direction of Gustave Haenschen, will tng selections from the new motion lt i, picture, "The King of Jazz." place in the RCA Demonstration Hour between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm on June 23, 1928 over WSR and other radio stations in the NBC chain.
More information about this in the posting cited above. I found a little more. Note this is an Apeda photo.
From the Indiana Gazette, June 4, 1930. "The Palmolive Ensemble under the direction of Gustave Haenschen, will bring selections from the new motion picture, "The King of Jazz."
"Carl Fenton" (at first Walter Haenschen, later Reuben Greenberg) was among the most important recording directors of the 1920s, functioning for the popular Brunswick label as Nat Shilkret did for Victor. Fenton shaped Brunswick's sound of that era more than any other Brunswick musician and remained an important figure in the music world for decades, becoming important on radio shows after he left the recording business. He worked with most of America's best musicians from 1920 through the 1940s.
In the 1920s, no musician was actually named Carl Fenton though that name appeared on many Brunswick labels of the decade. Finally, in 1932, Reuben Greenberg changed his name to Carl Fenton. See the end of this article for more information about Greenberg."
There is plenty more in the internet.
Date of Birth: 11/28/1894
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Date of Death: 1/29/1968
A list of radio programs with an orchestra conducted by Frank Black in
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 1, 2013 2:39 PM|
Did you notice that the pseudonyms "Paul Oliver" and "Olive Palmer" are both plays on the word PALMOLIVE ?? It didn't occur to me until I just saw here that they were on the Palmolive (radio) Hour at that time! Oh, those clever 20s ad-men...
Gorgeous color photograph of the broadcast, BTW, very rare for that time.
How was Paul Whiteman described in a New York Times, Oct 2, 1921 ad? Get a load of the words and phrases in this ad!
sweet and stirring strains
100 years of jazz in 99 minutes
Okay, so starting with Bix, and going clockwise, there's Bird, Billie, Duke, Benny, Satchmo, Diz, and Fats. Who's the guy in the middle, with the big frames and the 'fro?
.... eight guys you recognized were all inducted in the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in 2004 and 2005.
A useless observation: the people in the image are either playing an instrument, singing, or smiling, except for Bix.
Benny looks blissful and Bix looks modestly pleased, as they should, since they were the only white musicians to make it over the color line in that group. I'm not being critical of their awards, since I don't really know the racial ratio of their inductees and don't really want to go there, since that subject is an old hot chestnut not worth arguing about further and since the all the people named above are certainly worthy.
Is the guy in the middle supposed to be Miles Davis? He is usually shown wearing shades, not 1970s-style glasses, but the link below shows album covers, one of which, third from left on the lower row, does show similar regular glasses. Miles did have a big smile, too but I couldn't find a photo with big glasses, big smile, and big Afro!
Look at this ad for the appearance of Paul Whiteman's World's Famous Orchestra and the ODJb in the Casino in Reading, PA.
However, this was not the main Whiteman orchestra. The main Whiteman orchestra had an engagement at the Palais Royal in New York City for the week of Apr 17-23, 1922. Note the fine print under "Paul Whiteman's World Famous Orchestra': "Under direction of Al Burt." Who was Al Burt? Al Burt was a dance band leader in the 1920s. Listen to one of his recordings
and look at an ad for Al Burt's appearance at the Blue Bird Dancing.
Note the the band is presented by Paul Whiteman, Inc. I will make the guess that Al Burt's band was one of the bands managed by the Whiteman organization.
Here is the cover of sheet music with a photo of Burt's band.
and a closeup of the band.
Listen to "Twinkling Star" in the LOC jukeboox site.
Under the date in the Whiteman-OdJB ad, I read "Conducted by Duke Monahan." Who is he?
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 31, 2013 1:22 PM|
I am sure you know that all 5 takes of Goldkette's recording of the tune in the title, waxed in Detroit on portable equipment on Nov 24, 1924, were rejected. Bix had a solo and it has been speculated that all takes were rejected because ,(Paul Mertz's account) King was "anti-jazz." This has been discussed extensively in the forum. Listen to the recording.
I don't think that Bix's solo is that jazzy/hot and stays close to the melody; Bix's solo does not seeem to me to be hotter than Tommy Dorsey's solo on trombone or Joe Venuti's solo on violin.
I am putting the final touches on an article about this recording and I decided to listen to dance band recordings supervised by Eddie King during his trip to the midwest with Victor portable equipment.
Nov 21, 1924, Minneapolis Dick Long and His Cafe Nankin Orchestra
Are the cornet solos "polite" (a la Busse and Farrar) as supposedly Eddie King wanted? Opinions please. Thanks.
To my ears, the major difference is not "hotness." Bix's playing on "I Didn't Know" is clearly not hot in the way "Big Boy" or "Susie" is. The major difference is in the style of the two big bands in question.
The saxophone break (Murray?) is probably the "hottest" (improvised) interval in the Goldkette piece. Nevertheless, the Victor band plays in a looser, more open, swinging style; The Café Nankin Orchestra plays in the earlier "novelty orchestra" style--the kind of kitschy music that movies and television shows plant in the background to let you know the setting is in the twenties--tink-a-plink-a-plink rhythms, lots of eighth and sixteenth notes, and "tricky" muted horn touches.
Perhaps that's the "kind of jazz" Eddie King expected or wanted to hear in his recordings.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 29, 2013 10:21 AM|
In a January 1962 review for Gramophone of the RCA Victor album The Bix Beiderbecke Legend, Brian Rust writes about the finding of the metal master of I Didnt Know: This find, buried in the Victor vaults for 37 years, is included on the first of the above LPs despite a blemish on the master that causes a vicious swishing sound throughout the first half, but which fortunately fades out just in time for Bix's solo. The impression one receives on hearing it is that this is not Bix at all. Then, after listening to the tracks by the Wolverines on the Riverside LPthe last two of them made only six weeks earlier, we realise that this was Bix, playing his first big-band date and probably somewhat under restraint. The purity of tone is there, but the reckless, rolling phrases do not tumble out of his cornet as they do on the Wolverines tracks. He was, in fact, on his best behaviour, but he needn't have worried. The company rejected all five attempts at recording the number (it's an attractive little melody, by the way, with a half-chorus of Tommy Dorsey's trombone just before the Bix solo).
I am afraid I must disagree with the late Brian Rust. The 14-bar cornet solo in Goldkettes I Didnt Know is quintessential Bix: his sensibility and pure tone are omnipresent, his powerful imagination and characteristic economy of notes are in evidence as are Bixs contradictory emotions of optimism and melancholy often found in his cornet solos.
I agree that the "I Don't Know" solo is definitely the Bix we know all the way through to "Georgia On My Mind." Tone aside, this solo shows that sort of alchemy that he had to intuit the heart of the melody and distill it into a few well-chosen notes. Even when he improvises far from the actual tune, he gives us the essence of the song. (See his solos on the Whiteman and Trumbauer versions of "Love Nest" or his striking interjections into "That's My Weakness Now," which otherwise would have been a nice but way too coochie-coo cutesy a song.)
In August 1981 on London's Capitol Radio, on his "Mardis Gras" weekly programme, Brian dedicated the hour long show to mark the 50th anniversary of Bix's death.
Brian's brief comment before playing the record:
A record Bix made with Goldkette in 1924 was "I Didn't Know" which was rejected for issue and a moldering master was eventually rescued in 1959 for issue on LP. It had deteriorated badly and a distressing swish mars the first part of it, but during Bix's solo the noise stops and we can hear him as Hoagy Carmichael heard him at a campus dance that year and was shattered by the experience.
"....a distressing swish mars the first part of it, but during Bix's solo the noise stops...."
That is not quite correct. The swish doesn't actually stop until a few seconds after Bix's solo.
As Brian Rust indicates, the swish was the result of corrosion developing on the original metal master due to it being incorrectly stored.
I was reading John Chilton's *Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz Giant* and on a couple of occasions in the book Chilton makes it clear that Eldridge didn't think too highly of Bix:
"The work of cornettist Bix Beiderbecke, a white contemporary of Joe Smith, never won Roy over, and throughout his life he could never be more than lukewarm about Bix's playing. In 1943 he said:
"'Bix Beiderbecke has become a historical personality and some people rate him right up there with Louis Armstrong. I heard Bix a couple of times in Detroit [May 1928]. I thought he had a very pretty tone but I wasn't greatly impressed otherwise, and when I found out later about Bix's great reputation, I was surprised.'
"Thirty-four years later (in 1977), Roy hadn't changed his assessment: 'He didn't get to me, no kinda way. I much prefer Bobby Hackett's playing.'"
p. 387 (referring to a 1960 recording)
"On a bouncy version of Sweet Sue, Roy re-created part of a Bix Beiderbecke solo (recorded with Paul Whiteman in 1928). Much was made of this by some critics, who linked Roy with the work of the late, lamented cornettist, but Roy was adamant that he had never been influenced by Beiderbecke, and on the album he simply inserted part of an arrangement he had performed with Speed Webb's Band in 1930. As if to underline his point he moves from Beiderbecke's phrases into a theme that he and Coleman Hawkins had devised on the chords of Sweet Sue."
Does anyone want to speculate on why Eldridge was so negative toward Bix? I don't think race is an adequate explanation. Eldridge expressed admiration for a number of white trumpet players, especially Bunny Berigan (and as indicated above, Bobby Hackett). He acknowledged his early debt to Red Nichols, from whose records he undoubtedly learned a lot about clean articulation. (He did make it clear though that he regarded his real influences as saxophonists, above all Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter.) So it's not clear what he had against Bix--maybe the latter wasn't at his best when Eldridge heard him perform in Detroit in 1928? What's ironic is not only that (1) when Eldridge was with Speed Webb the band (unrecorded, alas) performed arrangements by Goldkette and Whiteman as well as Nichols, so Eldridge presumably played other Bix solos besides Sweet Sue, but also that (2) Bix himself pioneered "saxophone-like" playing (something for which Eldridge would become famous) on cornet with Whiteman recordings like China Boy.
One should note that Eldridge was sometimes disingenuous about who had influenced him; for example, Chilton rightly dismisses Eldridge's claim not to have listened closely to Louis Armstrong until 1932. Gunther Schuller has likewise questioned Eldridge's claim never to have been influenced by Red Allen; a piece like Florida Stomp belies that claim, Schuller writes. So perhaps Eldridge was more influenced by Bix than he let on (or even realized)--though of course his mature style (which he had reached by the time of his first recordings) was very much his own.
.... are found in old postings (almost two decades ago, I can't believe it!!).
The question you raise is very significant. We know that Bix was admired and liked my most musicians who came in contact with him, either personally or through his records. So, what the heck is wrong with Roy Eldridge? In particular because one of his heroes was Rex Stewart, who knew Bix and had nothing but praise for him.
I hate to get int psycho babble, but here are some off the cuff remarks.
Jealousy. Roy played with several of the musicians who knew Bix: Gene Krupa, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Benny Carter, Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey, probably others. Maybe Eldridge became jealous because of musicians expressing their unwavering admiration for Bix's genius.
Contrarian. Apparently, Eldridge was an irascible individual. Because so many musicians were Bix fans, he would adopt an antagonistic position.
I don't believe I wrote the above for public consumption. Pure, unadulterated speculation. Maybe others have rational and toughtful explanations.
My take is that Bix mostly played with a sweet sound and Roy had more of an in-your-face brassy tone so they probably just had way different views on how the cornet/trumpet should sound. Listen to Roy with Shaw at this link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r9gyxabuBc Note the contrast on Summertime between Shaw's solo and Roy's very different kind of solo right after. If Roy wanted to try playing sweet, the time to have done that would have been right after Shaw's solo, but that's just my personal view.
It's easy to understand how a musician like Eldridge, who during his career had to come in through the back door, actually and figuratively, might get a bit hot under the collar with Bix fans. He's probably, thinking "Why are you asking me about that guy way back then? He had it pretty easy really, white guy, hot player back then with all that loose money, girls crazy for jazz dancing, and all! I'm the one out here now, busting my chops. Gimme a break!"
Nick Dellow is right, though, when it comes right down to the notes, Eldridge thought they were worthy.
I just heard the 1960 Roy Eldridge "Sweet Sue" and I loved it! It's a really charming record and shows one jazz master playing around with the recorded solo of another, creating a beautiful commentary on Bix's solo masterpiece (about the rest of the Whiteman-Bix record, the less said the better -- when I read that Bill Challis was the arranger I had a hard time believing someone that creative could have turned out something that silly, and when I first heard Jack Fulton's vocal in 1969, at the height of Tiny Tim's popularity, I thought, "So Tiny Tim isn't a joke after all! That's actually an historically appropriate way to perform his material!") and showing his obvious love of the musical imagination that created Bix's solo.
It did occur to me after the previous threads, though, that perhaps Eldridge never knew he was basing his solo on Bix's! When he made the 1932 "Sweet Sue" he may have just been reading the solo from a chart whose arranger had copied Bix, and he may have remembered that solo 28 years later and still not realized Bix had originated it.
That Challis / Whiteman "Sweet Sue" arrangement sure has taken its lumps from the critics over the years. Such choice adjectival brickbats as "Pompous," "Bloated," "Pretentious" and "Over-Wrought" - among others - have been hurled at it, cunningly brightening the contrast with Bix's solo, variously described as "a breath of fresh air," "a diamond in the paste," "light-years removed" etc. etc.
Ah, what the hell. Cut off my legs and call me Shorty, but I've always LOVED that arrangement. The whole record is entertaining and funny and quite musically worthwhile from start to finish. I am never tempted to skip over the "Dross" (another nice epithet) and listen only to Bix's immortal chorus. One either digs "Symphonic Jazz" or one doesn't.
Albert, where is that fantastic Melody Maker article (SERIES of articles!) about "Sweet Sue," that is an extended paean of praise for the complete production, especially Bix?
The link to the first posting in the thread of interest.
The direct link to the article.
Thirteen pages of analysis of the Whiteman/Bix "Sweet Sue"! It would take longer to read all this than it does to listen to the record itself. One thing that's nice to read in Al Davison's third part is, "There is no doubt that Bix is a born genius." Not "was," "is." So much for the oft-repeated legend that Bix's genius was never acknowledged in print in his lifetime!
RE Jack Fulton: When I first heard "Sweet Sue" I was immediately put off by the bizarre quality of his voice, and I still think Whiteman would have been better off if he'd given the vocal assignment to Bing Crosby (who sang jazz and non-jazz material equally well), but I've grown to have a rather campy affection for him. I don't hate him -- he's certainly better than Frank Bessinger, Irving Kaufman and some of the other foghorns that afflicted Bix's records with Goldkette and Trumbauer -- but his style of singing is very much of its time, whereas Bix and Bing are timeless.
.... that second-class citizen Mark Gabrish Conlan is beginning to see the light. With further progress, second-class citizen Mark has a good chance to be promoted to first-class citizenship.
King Albert the First
Sovereign Kingdom of Bixonia
The Home of WBIX
At the risk of a life-time tenure in second-class citizenship, I have to agree with Mark's freedom of speech here, suggesting that Bing Crosby would have been a far better choice for "Sweet Sue." Bix and Bing are timeless giants, and Bix's genius would be better set off for the ages without Fulton's warbling tenor, tied for eternity to the twenties pop style.
Those of you who have Bix Restored, Volume V (which should be subtitled "Bix and the Bixians") will know that there is a delightful recording by Bing, with Lennie Hayton on piano, showing just what he could do with "Sweet Sue."
King Albert I is an extreme libertarian and protects freedom of speech at all costs.
Bing's version of Sweet Sue is available here. So different from Whiteman's, but both terrific; this is, in my opinion, the manifestation of the fact that Victor Young's composition is fantastic.
I believe people have commented that Bing's scatting is strongly inspired by Bix's genius for improvisation. Indeed, it is.
So, now Bessinger and Kaufman are "foghorns?" Right, the record-buying public of the 'teens and 'twenties was so misguided.
I agree as to the "timeless" element. The same way that Jimmie Rodgers is timeless, and someone like Frankie Marvin, with his thin little warble, is no more than a second-rate imitator.
I don't think record buyers in the 'teens and twenties were necessarily "misguided." They certainly weren't "misguided" when they made Jimmie Rodgers a superstar! In his six-year recording career (about the same length as Bix's) he had many hits and helped found an entirely new style of music. Rodgers influenced singers as different as Woody Guthrie and Gene Autry, and even when he sang a banal tear-jerker his sincerity and soul made it believable. (I disagree with you on Frankie Marvin; he's hardly in Rodgers' class but he's more than a "second-rate imitator" and, like Rodgers, he had a strong enough sense of jazz and blues to make credible records with African-American musicians.)
Nor were they "misguided" when they made Gene Austin's 1927 "My Blue Heaven" the best-selling record of anything until Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" 15 years later. Austin was a MUCH bigger star than Bessinger or Kaufman in the 1920's and his records show not only an eloquent ballad singer (to my mind his second-biggest hit, "Ramona," is even better than "My Blue Heaven") but also a surprising flair for jazz (check out his version of "Sweet Sue," the song that started this thread!). It's a real pity Austin and Bix never recorded together!
I can't know how 1920's audiences reacted to these records or what they liked, or didn't like, about them. I can note my own reactions from the early 1970's, when I first started collecting Bix's records and how lame the vocals sounded, and how I've responded to them since. Some vocals that struck me as terrible when I first heard them, like Lewis James on the Bix-Goldkette "Blue River," have grown on me over time; as silly as the song's lyrics are, James uses them to create the romantic mood the writers intended and does a far better job than Smith Ballew did on the Bix-Trumbauer record of the same song. And some, like Bessinger's work on "Idolizing," still do nothing for me; I can't hear "Idolizing" without wishing Bessinger would shut up and let me hear Eddle Lang's amazing guitar obbligato as the solo it deserved to be.
Singers like Frank Bessinger and Irving Kaufman weren't major names in the 1920's; they were session singers who got to make records because they could learn a song quickly and belt out a reasonably acceptable vocal in the middle of a dance record. If you like them, fine. But for me it's hard to listen to them take up space on records with great jazz instrumentalists who had to cut their solos short to make room for their dated and excessively mannered (Bessinger) or ill-phrased (Kaufman) vocals.
I thoroughly agree, Mark, with the wish that those singers would just vanish and let us hear more of the music. My personal point of reference comes from straining to make out every note of Bix's obbligato behind Ballew on "Blue River." But we have to acknowledge that the record producers then wanted to sell records and sheet music, and there is a portion of the public that seems to have to have lyrics to engage with a song. Clearly, that was true then as now. All of us "sing" the lyrics to jazz songs we know in our heads even if there is no vocal, so we're not immune to the human desire to hear the "story" either.
One of the problems I've noticed with trying to get young people to appreciate any jazz (except maybe love ballads by singers) is that they just can't get their minds around plain instrumental music. "What's this song about?" they want to know. Most popular music since the 1950s has been backing a vocal line (name an instrumental by the Beetles, for example), and that's what they expect.
As I'm writing this, I'm thinking this point is a good argument for learning a musical instrument during childhood or at least listening to instrumental music early on.
...according to several pop-chart web sites, was the "Miami Vice Theme" by Jan Hammer in 1985. That's 28 years and counting.
The last instrumental record to make the Top 20 was "Auld Lang Syne (The Millennium Mix)" by Kenny G in 1999, which rose to No. 10.
The hand-wringing indictments of pop culture and degenerating musical taste I leave to you.
However, blame for the all-conquering Vocal Hegemony in pop music can definitively be pinned on James C. Petrillo, President of the American Federation of Musicians, who in August, 1942 commenced a musicians' strike against the commercial recording industry. He wanted Victor, Columbia and Decca to compensate for the live playing jobs lost to juke boxes in countless bars and restaurants. It was a nasty strike, lasting until November, 1944.
Singers were the Achilles' Heel in this fracas, for only players of instruments were members of AFM. Even singers with absolute pitch, who could sight-read and imitate instruments, were not "musicians," and thus exempt from the strike. So Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ginny Simms and the like went on making commercial records all through the strike, using a capella choral backing. When it was over, record buyers said, in effect, to the Big Bands, "Where were you when we needed you?" From then till now, singers have ruled the pop music universe.
That was a great summary, Mr. Kay. Thank you for the historical harmony for the no-lyrics no-hit blues I was singing. It's is too bad Mr. Petrillo didn't have the foresight to get those crooners signed up for the union a couple of decades earlier while they were fewer and weaker in clout.
But there's hope for anyone to learn to appreciate music without words. People still listen to Bach's instrumental compositions, after all. A lot of us fans grew up after the musicians' strike and know the lyrics to an embarrassing number of songs, but still love the instrumental music of the 1920s and 1930s above all. Of course, a lot of us (those of a "certain age") grew up hearing vocalists backed by top musicians from that period, however anonymously they worked, rather than the generic sludge that currently backs a lot of singers. (No slam intended at the musicians. It's not their fault, but they know they're just the placemat, not the entre at the table.)
It was Seger Ellis, not Smith Ballew, on the Bix-Tram "Blue River." My apologies. (Ballew was actually a cut above most of his white contemporaries in terms of vocal beauty and jazz phrasing.)
Yes, SO NICE to read this amazing article again! Despite Mr. Davison's disclaimer at the very end of part four, that the "forgoing analysis is, believe me, much more abbreviated than the record deserves," it is the MOST thoroughgoing musical scrutiny of any dance/jazz record I've ever seen published prior to the book Early Jazz by Gunther Schuller (1968).
To fully appreciate the analysis, you must listen to the record and savor each moment as you read Davison's description. When you do that, the big arrangement, deprecated so often by so many later writers, becomes a fascinating work of art.
His remarks about Bix are, of course, shockingly right-on, and amazingly prescient in terms of jazz appreciation, besides his apt analysis of the cornet solo itself. And his words read like maybe this isn't the first time Mr. Davison ever wrote about Bix Beiderbecke. Can someone please check other issues of Melody Maker?
Davison also unhesitatingly credits Bix with the celesta obbligato behind Jack Fulton's vocal. I have read that the celeste actually was played by Lennie Hayton, though for the longest time it was credited to Bix. Is that a done deal? Are we POSITIVE that Hayton, not Bix, played it? There are many characteristic moments that remind me strongly of Bix's piano playing, especially the fast 16th and 8th note triadic run (bars 11, 12 and 13 in Davison's transcription [Ex. 13]). There is a moment just like it in "For No Reason at All in C," when Bix careens chordally down the keyboard in just that way.
Of course, if it IS Bix on celeste, he had only about ten seconds to stand, switch to his horn, re-set his brain and do the solo. So maybe it's Lennie after all.
Anyway, my appreciation of this whole performance grew exponentially after first reading this piece in 2009. Again, thank you, Rob Rothberg and Albert, for digging it up, scanning and posting it.
Any chance Bix himself saw it in '29? Didn't he have fans in England who would have tossed it across The Pond?
Unlike most of you, I think Jack Fulton was a superb vocalist. I am not a jazz snob and feel no obligation to say that if it is not hot, it is not good. As I said in another post, I love sweet music and I adore Fulton's high tenor voice/falsetto. Two other singers from the 1930s with high tenor voices are my all-time favorites: the Corsican Tino Rossi (my wife's favorite singer of French songs; Tino Rossi recorded one of my favorite songs in the whole wide world, "Le secret de tes caresses" in a tango tempo) and the Italian Alberto Rabagliati who started recording with the Lecuona Cuban Boys in 1934 (Enrico kindly sent me a couple of CDs with Rabagliati singing; great stuff). Jack Fulton's vocals with Whiteman are highlighted in Don Rayno's splendid Whiteman biography. In the index pages you will find an entry entitled "Jack Fulton, recordings by Whiteman, prominent vocals on."
Tomorrow, the music file.
Tino Rossi - Le secret de tes caresses
And get a load of this song by Alberto Rabagliati: Maria la O in tango tempo. Great transfer and upload by Enrico.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Nov 1, 2013 8:47 AM|
Lover Come Back To Me - Composed by Sigmund Romberg, Frank Mandel, Oscar Hammerstein II - Recorded Feb 7, 1929 - Col 1731-D - Arranged by Ferde Grofe
Lovely subtone clarinet by Chester Hazlett and listen to them bells. Grofe's arrangement had Austin Young on vocal, but the night before the recording session, Young left the band. From Don Rayno, "Recent articles in the press had contained mildly sardonic references to Whiteman's large income. As a gag, Young showed up at the theatre dressed in an opera cape and sporting a gold-handled cane. Whiteman was not amused. He curtly ordered the singer to divest himself of the offensive articles or consider himself fired. Offended by Whiteman's peremptory tone, Young resigned on the spot."
"Lover, Come Back to Me" is a popular song. The music was written by Sigmund Romberg with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II for the Broadway show The New Moon, where the song was introduced by Evelyn Herbert and Robert Halliday (as Robert Misson). The song was published in 1928. Its middle section is based on "June: Barcarolle" from Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, opus 37b.
Listen to Tchaikovsky's June: Barcarolle.
Lover, Come Back to Me was recorded by a ton of performers. Of course, my favorite version is Annette Hanshaw's with Mike Mosiello, Andy Sannella, ?Ben Selvin, Rube Bloom, Joe Tarto.
The Dorsey Brothers recorded a "concert" version with Smith Ballew on vocal.
Roy Eldridge was just an irascible sort of guy. It was in his nature. His attitude in this respect was the same towards black musicians as it was towards white. He was also very competitive, which is hardly a crime for a jazz musician!, but as a result he disliked musicians being elevated to idolatry status by their followers. When Dizzy Gillespie was becoming well known and other musicians started to follow him and play in his style - and wear the idiosyncratic clothing that codified the be-bop world - Roy Eldridge remained resolutely unimpressed. He would have been equally unimpressed by the idolisation of Bix by his legions of fans. John Chilton, who worked with the trumpeter as well as writing his biography, said that Eldridge hated feeling that he was on the outside of a clique, which is an understandable reaction for someone who had been at the head of the pack and then felt that almost overnight he had lost out to some young upstart. Jazz can be a very fickle world.
Dizzy Gillespie recalled that "Roy didn't treat me too well. Sometimes I'd meet him in front of the Three Deuces and say, "Hey, Roy." He'd make like he didn't hear me.....Roy Eldridge is the most competitive musician I'd ever seen. Roy used to come into places, and we're on the bandstand, the younger trumpeters, playing gentlemanly. He'd take out his horn at the door and start on a high B flat. One night we were standing outside a club and Roy said, "Come on, let's go inside and blow". And I told him, "Roy, would you mind if I went in by myself and played a while first? 'Cause when you get up to play, you don't know how to act!"
Actually, I think that high note entry into establishments was more or less just a showbiz catchphrase of Roy's that he often used - he does it in the short movie "After Hours" (1961) with Coleman Hawkins. Moreover, Dizzy's remarks about Roy seem to me to be a little bit pompous coming from such a high note showman himself! But there we are - competitive jazz musicians and their somewhat irascible natures! In fact, they both respected and admired each other's playing, just as no doubt did Eldridge when it came to Bix.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 29, 2013 5:59 AM|
This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 29, 2013 5:58 AM
Radio Program # 216. (loaded on 10/25/2013) British Dance Bands Play Songs That Bix Recorded. Thanks to Nick Dellow for suggesting the subject of this program and for providing all wave files used to produce this program. 65 min 42 sec
http://bixography.com/WBIX215.rm 16.1 MB
Streaming mp3 file http://bixography.com/wbixmp3/WBIX216.m3u
Download file bixography.com/wbixmp3/WBIX216.mp3 47.3 MB
Louise. Ambrose. Jul 9, 1929. Vocal by Eddie Grossbart.
From Monday On. Billy Cotton. Oct 1928. Vocal triio.
My Pet. Fred Elizalde. May 1928. Vocal by Dick Maxwell.
I'm Coming Virginia. Fred Spinnelly. Oct 1927.
Forget Me Not. Jack Hylton. Jan 18, 1929. Vocal by Sam Browne.
Riverboat Shuffle. Kit Cat Club. Oct 7, 1925.
Tiger Rag. Philip Lewis. Sep 11, 1929.
Our Bungalow of Dreams. May 17, 1928. Vocal by Eddie Pola, Ted Brandt, Phil Arnold.
Raisin' the Roof. Rhythm Maniacs. Sep 25, 1929. Vocal by Maurice Elwin.
Mississippi Mud. Rhythmic Eight. Jun 11, 1928.
There's a Cradle in Caroline. Rhythmic Eight. Feb 6, 1928.
Idolizing. Savoy Orpheans. Mar 2, 1927.
WBIX # 217 will be uploaded on November 29, 2013.
PS Nick, please let me now of any necessary corrections/addtions. Thanks for all your help.
Just one minor mistake this time around: Bix's record of "Our Bungalow of Dreams" was made with a Frank Trumbauer studio group, not with Paul Whiteman (though the arrangements on the Trumbauer records were getting slicker and more Whiteman-ish by the day and it's hard just by listening to tell the difference). Otherwise this was an excellent program and surprised me once again with how good the British bands of the late 1920's really were (albeit they were occasionally bolstered with American "ringers" like Sylvester Ahola and Adrian Rollini). Some of these (like the Jack Hylton "Kit Kat Klub" version of "Riverboat Shuffle" and the Fred Spinnelly "I'm Coming, Virginia") were clearly modeled after Bix's records, and it was a thrill to hear Bix's breaks on the Wolverines' "Riverboat Shuffle" interpreted by a whole trumpet section. Some of the sides here swing harder than Bix's versions (albeit that wasn't Bix's fault!), particularly "Idolizing" (blessedly spared the disastrous Frank Bessinger vocal that afflicts the Bix/Goldkette record) and "Forget-Me-Not" (spared the marvelously campy vocal by Jack Fulton on the Bix/Whiteman recording, which actually wasn't released until 1941). But aside from the fact that "Our Bungalow of Dreams" simply isn't a very good song, it was bizarre, after all the years we've suffered through Irving Kaufman's typically wretched vocal on the Bix/Trumbauer version (indeed, it was so awful even by his meager standards he didn't take credit for it on the label and it went out with the singer's name as "Noel Taylor"!), to hear the vocal trio on this version, which sounds like three Irving Kaufmans.
A note on the song "Raisin' the Roof": it was recorded in 1927 by Duke Ellington's band under the name "Doin' the Frog." The composer, Jimmy McHugh, was the house songwriter at the Cotton Club (when he left the job he was replaced by Harold Arlen!) and so Ellington recorded a lot of his material, though the Duke was able to get many of his own compositions into the shows at the Cotton Club as well. In 1929 it was recorded by both the Trumbauer studio group and Fletcher Henderson's orchestra. The Henderson version is used in the film "Chicago" and is the only authentic 1920's record heard in that movie.
My Pet, a composition by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics) was published by Ager, Yellen & Bornstein, Inc. in New York, 1928.
I wish to discuss here three recordings of this song. Thanks to Nick for helpful correspondence on this subject. The recordings are listed in order of recording dates.
Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra. Apr 10, 1928. Ok 41039 (take C, released Jun 5, 1928). Arranged by Bill Challis.
Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. Apr 22, 1928. Vic 21389 (take 2, released Jun 8, 1928). Arranged by Bill Challis (Apr 1928, # 1743, Williams College Whiteman Collection).
Fred Elizalde and His Music. May 1928. Br 183.
The introductions and codas in Elizalde's and Trumbauer's recordings are virtually identical. There is one fascinating difference in the codas. In Trumbauer's recording, Bix plays two extra notes at the very end, and these are not reproduced in Elizalde's version. Whiteman's introduction is totally different. The coda, shorter than in Elizalde's and Trumbauer's recordings, does not include Bix's extra notes.
Introductions to the Elizalde's and Trumbauer's recordings of My Pet. First Elizalde, second Trumbauer.
Codas to Elizalde's, Trumbauer's and Whiteman's recordings of My Pet.
In view of the chronological data presented above, it is evident that Elizalde could not have heard the Trumbauer and Whiteman recordings before he recorded his own version of My Pet. How is it then possible that Elizalde's used the same introduction and coda found in Trumbauer's recording, a coda also used by Whiteman in his recording?
In my WBIX program, I speculated that perhaps the tune was played by the New Yorkers in the Fall of 1927 and that Rollini remembered the introduction and coda. Maybe Rollini suggested to Elizalde that these be used. This hypothesis does not hold water. My Pet was copyrighted in 1928, after Rollini had left the US and could not have been played by the New Yorkers.
Nick provides a reasonable and likely suggestion: that Rollini picked up the Challis arrangement of the tune when he visited the US in April 1928. This hypothesis finds support in Adrian Rollini's chronology. Details about Adrian's trips to America while in England are found in Arthur Rollini's biography, "Thirty Years With the Big Bands."
Adrian Rollini went to England at the end of 1927, after his New Yorkers Band couldn't make ends meet, to join Fred Elizalde's band. Adrian Rollini came back to the US twice during his tenure with Elizalde. The first trip was in April 1928. Arthur Rollini writes,:"We were now into 1928. Dad had taken a turn for the worse the previous fall and could no longer work. By Christmas he was confined to his bed and Dr. Cantle came daily to give him relief with an opiate. Mom stayed by his bedside constantly in order to respond to his every little wish. Dr. Cantle sometimes came twice a day. Finally Mom cabled Adrian, telling him to return immediately. Adrian took the first ship out of England and arrived home on April 3rd . Dad was in a terribly weakened condition by now.
Adrian phoned Dixie, his fiancee, and she was ready when he arrived to pick her up. He drove her back to our house and they both entered Dad's room. Adrian asked, "Dad, can you hear me?" Dad nodded affirmatively. Adrian said,"Dad this is Dixie. I want to marry her, do I have your blessing?" Dad put out his hand. Adrian bent down and Dad's hand brushed his face and he nodded in the affirmative again. Adrian kissed his father on the cheek and departed with Dixie. They had a lot to talk about. It had been such a long time. Adrian and Dixie were married on 6 April 1928. During the night of April 14th Dad grew weaker and we ketp a steady vigil. The nest morning, Sunday, the Baron was dead......After the funeral Adrian and Dixie took the Homeric to England."
Before going back to England Adrian Rollini waxed two sides, on April 24, 1928, with the Dorsey Brothers -My Melancholy Baby and Indian Cradle Song. Clearly, Adrian Rollini was very busy during this trip -wedding, funeral, recordings and interacting with other musicians friends. Nick's suggestion that at this time Rollini picked up Challis's arrangement of My Pet is quite reasonable.
This was not the first time that Elizalde used Challis's arrangements in his recordings. As a matter of fact, we discussed in detail the fact that Elizalde's recording of Sugar follows extremely closely Challis's arrangement of this tune recorded by Whiteman.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 26, 2013 8:24 AM|
Listen to this terrific interpretation of Roger Wolfe Kahn's Crazy Rhythm. Adrian Rollini dominates this recording. Arranged by Elizalde, recorded Nov 16, 1928. I hear variations of the In A Mist interlude a couple of times. I love Tiny Scott's string bass accompanying Adrian's solos (3!!).
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 26, 2013 9:03 AM|
Thanks to Nick's generosity, here is the review of the recording in the Jan 1929 issue of the Melody Maker.
A couple of comments. Acccording to Rust, the arranger is Fred Elizalde. But the reviewer, Edgar Jackson, states that the arranger is 17-year old Jack Rusen. Nick points out that we are dealing with pianist Jack Russin who, in 1928, was 19 years old. The SSDI lists a Jack Russin, born on Feb 27, 1909, died in Los Angeles on Oct 15, 1993. I wonder if this is the pianist. I incorrectly gave the name of the string bass player playing great string bass behind Adrian Rollini as Tiny Scott. The correct name is Stock. Nick writes, "Also, please note that the name of the double bass player is Tiny Stock, not Scott. Attached is a photo of him, also for uploading, sent to me by his granddaughter. Harold "Tiny" Stock was born in my home town of Watford, Hertfordshire in 1901 and died young - aged just 33 - in London. He was a superb bass player, highly respected by other musicians."
Here is the photo.
|This message has been edited by ahaim on Oct 28, 2013 5:54 AM|
Frankly, it seems more likely that the introduction of both the Frank Trumbauer and Fred Elizalde versions of "My Pet" was from the publisher's stock arrangement of the song and both Bill Challis and Fred Elizalde's arranger used it.
.... in the Trumbauer and Elizalde recordings of My Pet are not found in the stock arrangement. There are a number of recordings of My Pet based on the stock arrangement (but doctored - each in its own manner): none includes the intro and coda discussed here. Listen to some examples:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGzfbBk_U2s (the fabulous Finn Hooley has a spectacular solo)
That sounds to me as pure, unadulterated Bix-Tram-Challis.
Radio Program # 170. (loaded on 12/25/09) Bix's recordings played by other American bands.
Radio Program # 176. (loaded on 06/25/2010) Bix tunes recorded by other artists.
Radio Program # 181. (loaded on 11/26/2010) Bix Tunes Recorded by Other Bands.
Radio Program # 189. (loaded on 07/29/2011) Bix's Tunes recorded by other artists.
Radio Program # 196. (loaded on 02/24/2012) Bix tunes recorded by Fletcher Henderson.
Radio Program # 202. (loaded on 08/31/2012) Recordings of Bix Tunes by Sam Lanin.
Radio Program # 207. (loaded on 01/26/2013) German Recordings of Bix Tunes.
Lots of good tunes!!