Thursday, 16 February 2017

Fast ones; on & with Bix Beiderbecke

When ever it comes to the guys who really made the great dance orchestras of the roaring 1920's swing and stomp, Bix Beiderbecke incontrovertibly pertained to the elite of the cadre together with names like Jimmy & Tommy Dorsey, Frankie "Tram" Trumbauer, Gene Krupa, Don Murray, Steve Brown, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Spiegle Willcox et al.

All these boys were hot, and white, jazz musicians. To make their living, they just had to shine on the surface of the great dance orchestras, factory bands of the time like Jean Goldkette and Paul Whiteman bands; they really did, both things and were lavishly paid though playing just a few bars here and there. When they did, take solos, usually stupid dance tunes and arrangements got a couple of bars of hot jazzy pep up; the thing that flappers expected, and, insisted.

This one below is a pretty good example of what we're talking about. Idolizing by Jean Goldkette band recorded in 1927. Bix Beiderbecke makes some lovely bars with his Conn Victor cornet just between the unison intro and the vocal part which certainly is swell stupid lyrics of/for the time's flappers.

The next one is Sweet Sue by Paul Whiteman's band recorded in 1928. This is a superb demo of the fashion Beiderbecke's solo work saves otherwise silly semi-symphonic arrangement of the rubbishy dance music of those days. Bix's cornet solo comes after the vocal part, immediately following the tempo-breaking trumpet unisono-intro. Just stunningly lovely phrasing, soft and mellow tone, with derby hat over the Conn Victor's bell as it has been told.

The third one below, Lonely Melody by The Whiteman orchestra (1928) features in a beatiful manner Bix's sharper angle of attack, the snotty (over here we may say "räkäinen") Bix, both in phrasing and tone. The solo begins immediately after, the more or less, rubbishy unison semi-symphonic intro by the entire band and is quite distictive! When it comes to the matter of distinctiveness of artists on the whole, regardless of the instrument, I, the blogger, immediately go down to some of my compatriots: Kirill "Kirka" Babitzin, Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki, Olavi Virta and Albert Järvinen.

Fortunately, these guys recorded also jazz, under their own names, certainly with best possible formations and far reaching artistic liberty; the one below is a pretty good example.

Renaissance genius, craft beer snob & star blogger Arde before Bix's home in Synnyside of Queens.

Just couldn't help adding the lovely home-video above from the good old 20's; it's about the same time Andania borne sax virtuoso Wilfred H. Tuomikoski taught some lessons to our "Dallape"-guys on how to phrase jazzzz down here in Helsinki, on the shores of his ancestors. Sylvester Ahola, band fellow of Bix and radio amateur, certainly is a story of his own and in his own right...

By the way, Bix was born in Davenport, Iowa...

Good old days, some notes!