Goldkette's Sweethearts on Parade.
Initial Remark. John Vincent from Vancouver, Canada writes on 2/22/99: I am wondering about a Jean Goldkette record Victor "Sweethearts on Parade" listed as "Jean Goldkette's Orchestra" not "Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra" as others.
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 2/22/99: I don't understand your query. Do you have a copy of Victor 21800-A and it says Jean Goldkette's Orchestra on he label? What about the flip side? How does the label read? I do not own a copy of this record.
Follow-up 2. John Vincent from Vancouver, Canada writes on 2/23/99: In response to your question the label reads: "Jean Goldkette's Orchestra" verbatim. Under that is written "Harold Stokes, Director" and under that "Vocal refrain by Van Fleming". The flip side is a song by Nat Shilkret. As you are probably aware "Clementine" was Victor 20994-B (at least that's the one I own) so I take it that "Sweethearts On Parade" (the album in question) was recorded later with Harold Stokes filling in for Goldkette (???). The record was purchased in Michigan. I have read no where of the Goldkette band re-forming after "Clementine". I suppose it could be a super early Casa Loma band but I really have no idea. HELP!
Follow-up 3. Albert Haim writes on 2/24/99: I will try to tell you what I understand about Jean Goldkette. It may be too elementary for you. Please do not think that I am patronizing you. I am just trying to put the information I have in some sort of order.
Jean Goldkette was a concert pianist and businessman. As a concert pianist he played with the Detroit Symphony orchestra. As a businessman he had several dance bands (as many as 20 at one point): of course the Jean Goldkette Victor Recording Orchestra, but also the Orange Blossoms (I believe this group evolved into the Casa Loma orchestra), McKinney's Cotton Pickers, etc. The Victor Recording Orchestra was the most expensive of his bands (it cost three times as much as any of the other bands). So, when financial problems became severe, Jean Goldkette, in trying to save some expenses, decided to dissolve the most expensive of his bands. However, he still had a contract with Victor and he had many musicians (some very good ones: Sterling Bose, Steve Brown who recorded with Jean Goldkette after Clementine) in his stable and continued recording for Victor until late 1929 under the name of Jean Goldkette. (I do not have any of the post Clementine 78's, so I don't know the precise name of the band printed on the recordings; you have one that says Jean Goldkette's Orchestra; it would be interesting to take a look at other post Clementine records and see the name on the label). Although Jean Goldkette's name was on the records, this does not necessarily mean that he was conducting. Thus, for the sessions from June 1928 through January 1929, Harold Stokes was the leader. Jean was more involved with the business end than with the musical aspect, and he appointed other musicians to act as leaders of the band. As far as dates: Clementine was recorded on 9/15/27. The recording of "Sweethearts on Parade" dates from 11/19/28 (take 1) or 1/14/29 (take 5). The last recording of the Jean Goldkette Orchestra or Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra was "Get Happy" on 11/25/29. Incidentally, Van Fleming did vocals and played the banjo. Other musicians who recorded with Jean Goldkette in the post Clementine period were: Hoagy Carmichael, Don Redman, Victor Young, Ralph Escudero, Cuba Austin, Nat Natoli, etc.
Initial Remark. Hans Eekhoff from the Netherlands writes on 4/26/99: Lazy Daddy by the Wolverines. According to all discographies has a kazoo solo by George Brunies. Fine. But a kazoo can only be heard for four bars, the rest of the solo is by someone playing a trumpet mouthpiece and I say it's Bix. I would like to know what Sudhalter, who plays cornet, thinks. Added 4/27/99. My English friend John R. T. Davies who does the remastering for Timeless agrees with me on the Lazy Daddy issue so this might add some weight to my point. Have you played Lazy Daddy recently? After his mouthpiece solo Bix takes quite some time to get back to his position away from the recording horn and join in the ensemble. Just listen carefully and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 4/27/99: I listened carefully to the two takes of Lazy Daddy. Hans is absolutely right about a cornet not being heard for a few bars after the kazoo (or more likely, cornet mouthpiece) solo ends. Similarly, the cornet drops out a few bars before the kazoo (or more likely, cornet mouthpiece) is heard. In the middle of the 16-bar solo, one hears for a few bars, what appears to be a kazoo. I must say that within the very restricted range of a cornet mouthpiece, the solo sounds Bixian. This brings up a question about the statement in p. 164 of "Bix, The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story", by Philip and Linda Evans: "George Brunis played kazoo on "Lazy Daddy". Bix played piano behind George." If Bix is playing his mouthpiece, then the piano player must be Dick Voynow. Addendum, 4/28/99. I listened carefully for a trombone just before or after the 16-bar solo. I could not detect a trombone before the solo. I cannot tell if a trombone is present immediately after the solo. Of course, evidence of a trombone immediately before or after the solo, would rule out conclusivelyGeorge Brunis as the player of the solo. Evidently, the disappearance of Bix a few bars before the solo and its reappearance a few bars after the solo are compatible with Evans contention that Bix is playing piano while Brunis is playing kazoo. The key question revolves around the identification of the instrument for the 16-bar solo as a kazoo or a mouthpiece. Hans believes that it is a trumpet mouthpiece. So do I.
Follow-up 2. Frank Youngwerth writes on 5/4/99. Ted Lewis and His Band recorded "San" in 1930, and here you'll find George Brunis carrying on, presumably with his trombone mouthpiece, much in the manner he does on the Wolverines' "Lazy Daddy." Besides, Bix never playedcornet in the hokey style of the Wolverines' mouthpiece player.
Follow-up 3. Scott Black writes on 5/4/99. Well, Lazy Daddy, that has to be Bix on piano. He drops out before the solo, and the chords don't sound at all like Voynow. Bix had a very heavy two fisted sound when he was pounding out chords with a band.
Follow-up 4. Hans Eekhoff from the Netherlands writes on 5/07/99: I'm willing to accept Youngwerth's theory that it's Brunies on trombone mouthpiece, but it still is a mouthpiece.
of Bix and Hoagy
Initial Remark. Pat Kellar writes on 5/11/99. This e-mail address was given to me suggesting that you might be able to help in my search for a photo with Hoagy Carmichael together with Bix Beiderbecke. I have many of each of them but none showing them together. They were close friends and it seems strange that no such picture exists.
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 5/27/99. I am afraid I do not know of any photograph of Hoagy and Bix together. I would venture to guess that such a photo does not exist. If it did, it would have been in many books and magazines. It would have been a "classic". The closest that I can come up is the photo in p. 146 of Evans and Evans' book: a photograph of Hoagy with several members of the Wolverine Orchestra, when they visited your campus (I assume from your address that you are at Indiana University); unfortunately, Bix is not present. I agree with you, there were many opportunities for a photograph of Bix and Hoagy together. I know that Dick Sudhalter is writing a biography of Hoagy, and I understand that Hoagy's son, Bix, has made available to Dick a lot of the family records. Who knows, (wishful thinking?) there may be a photograph of Bix and Hoagy somewhere in the family records. (Addition 7/14/98: Dick Sudhalter tells me that there are thousands of photographs in the Indiana University Library Hoagy Collection, but nary a one of Bix and Hoagy together).
Follow-up 2. Ambjoern Berglund from Luxembourg writes on 7/2/99. I remember that I, in the early sixties, browsed through a voluminous book of pictures of famous jazz musicians in a bookshop in Malmö, Sweden. Somewhere in the middle, I saw a photo of Bix and some fellow musicians sitting on the rear out-door platform of a train. The reason for meremembering this is that in front of them, attached to the train, was a board saying DETTA TÅG TILL GÖTEBORG (THIS TRAIN TO GOTHENBURG). It surprised me that Bix had had this Swedish connection. Under the photo the text said something like BIX AND HOAGY RELAXING WITH SOME MUSICIAN FRIENDS GETTING PHOTOGRAPHED IN AN AMUSEMENT PARK. The title of the book was A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF JAZZ. Am I wrong? After all, it was rather long ago!
Follow-up 3. Albert Haim writes on 7/2/99. I cannot locate the photograph in question. I looked through my copy of Keepnews and Grauer's "A Pictorial History of Jazz", and could not find the photograph Ambjoern described. The closest I can come up with is a photograph in "Eddie Condon's Scrapbook of Jazz" (1973). In the chapter entitled "The Beginnings and Bix", there is a photograph (see scan at right) of Mezz Mezzrow, Josh Billings, Frank Vernier and Frank Teschmacher in the observation deck of a caboose. A sign hanging on the rail reads "Back to the Old Home Town". The caption for the photograph reads "Cutting up at White Amusement Park, Chicago". Could this be the photograph that Ambjoern remembers? There are numerous similarities: a train, an amusement park, a sign about going to a city. I, and many people, wished that Ambjoern was right. The discovery of a photograph of Bix and Hoagy together would be a historic event of major proportions.
Follow-up 4. Mike Heckman writes on 7/14/99. I've been following the Q&A re. the observation car sign. Keepnews and Grauer has three pictures of musicians on amusement park observation car platforms, at least in my edition (1966). Page 86 and 88 have the same car with different signs. The one on page 88 with Jess Stacey, Frank Teschemaker, George Wettling and bride has the sign in Swedish. A different car on page 98 shows Bix with Pee Wee, Mezz, Condon and two unknowns on a car that says Golden State.
I don't know if it counts but Hoagy says in one of his books that he was under the piano when the picture of Bix and his Rhythm Jugglers was taken.
P.S. Railroading is another hobby of mine. That's not a caboose! Cabooses are, or were, found at the end of freight trains. Observation cars with open rear platforms were found on snazzy passenger trains. If you saw the movie Double Indemnity you've seen one of the sinister uses to which the observation platform can be put. I can remember the LIRRstill had one in the late 1960s. They used to run an all parlor car train to Montauk on Friday evening. The observation car was gone by 1969 because I saw it in a scrap yard near Shea Stadium that year.
Follow-up 5. Albert Haim writes on 7/2/99. I am grateful to Mike for pointing out my error. Indeed, there are three photographs of jazz musicians on observation car platforms in pages 86, 89, and 98 of Keepnews and Grauer's "A Pictorial History of Jazz" (either the first, 1955, or second, 1966, edition). I missed these photographs when I looked through my copy of the book (1955 edition). I have no explanation other than I may be in need of a new brain. In order to make things perfectly clear, the description of the photographs is repeated here.
of Bix's Music in the 1960's
Initial Remark. Mike Heckman writes on 5/14/99:Back in the 60's there was very little Bix stuff available on record. Columbia had 3 LPs (Bix and His Gang CL844, Bix and Tram CL845, Bix/ Whiteman Days CL846); Riverside had the Wolverines sides (RLP12-123), and RCA had just come out with its one and only Bix album (LPM-2323)featuring the hitherto unknown "I Didn't Know". After that, you had to go digging from store to store. RCA's label X (which had had the old Victor Goldkette and Whiteman
sides) had been deleted some years earlier and the only way I could get a lot of the Goldkette stuff was through a pirate company in midtown Manhattan which had a label called OFC (Only for Collectors). You could order made-to-order LPs of any tracks you wanted and they had some ready made LPs, including a Bix with Goldkette 10" LP (OFC-28). Riverside also had an album entitled "On the Road Jazz" (RLP12-127) with the post Wolverine 1924 sides and other cuts featuring Wingy Manone, Muggsy Spanier and Murray Bercov (there's a trivia question: What band did Murray Bercov play with? Or Murphy Steinberg?). Columbia put out a couple of albums with only one or two new Bix cuts per album. That was a pain. Should I invest $5.00 just to get "Krazy Kat."? Should I buy the whole "History of Classic Jazz" just for "Lila"? Or a 5 LP set just for "I Like That"?
Things only got better in the 70s. First there was the "Unheard Bix"
(Broadway-102) with alternate takes of the Goldkette and Whiteman sides; then the Italian fourteen-album set (Joker 3557-70) came out in 1973 and the majors had to release tons of stuff in self-defense.
Now we have the opposite problem....too much... and no indication of
the quality of a CD. Is a $15.00 CD better than a $6.00 CD? The label
blurb doesn't say what the source of the cuts on the CD is. I've heard
some bad dupes of badly used 78s, "Royal Garden Blues"(1927) comes to mind, on which Bix's sound is awful. In the first break it seems as if he hasa noisy valve problem and the notes have an odd popping sound. Does anyone review the new Bix CDs? I enjoy the convenience of the CDs but, even the Columbia CDs don't capture the ring of his horn the way their LPs did.
About Jean Goldkette
Initial Remark. Alann Krivor writes on 5/31/99. Jean Goldkette was my granduncle, and I decided about three years ago to start collecting the family's information to work on his permanent biography. The search, of course, led me to Bix who quite captured my interest. You likely have some information I'm missing.
Follow-up 1.Albert Haim writes on 5/27/99. Whatever references I have about your grand uncle Jean Goldkette, are listed in my web site. I recommend in particular a good section in Richard Sudhalter's recent book "Lost Chords".
About Harry and Lou Raderman
Initial Remark. Russell Sands writes on 6/2/99. While stumbling around on the web, I wound up at your site. I don't know a lot about my great grandfather Harry Raderman or my great uncle Lou Raderman,
but I own some of their 78 recordings. If you could help me find a little
more info I would appreciate. My mother is Nina Raderman and I am in the process of finding out a little more about our family tree.
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 6/3/99. I am afraid I do not have any biographical information about Harry or Lou Raderman. However, I have the complete discography of Harry Raderman as well as the list of records made by Lou Raderman under his own name as band leader as well as those he made as principal staff violinist in the Victor Studios.
Follow-up 2. Mike May writes on 8/8/99. Russel Sands wrote to you about the Raderman family. I do have information about them, which I would love to share with Mr. Sands, along with 4 C-90 cassettes of Harry Raderman's music, which I will copy and send to him for free, if he wants
them. (I am a trombonist, and Raderman (even with his "laughing sound," was a great player.)
University Radio Program
Initial Remark. Hope Conley Lang writes on 6/13/99. I just looked over your web page and saw the reference to the radio programs about Bix broadcast by Miami University. Are these tapes available for purchase? One of the programs included the Bix recording of "Tia Juana", which was written by my dad, Larry Conley, and Gene Rodemich, and I'd like to hear the comments made about it.
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 6/14/99. Unfortunately, a transcript of the Radio Program is not available for sale. I know of two copies in libraries. The Miami University Library has one and the Davenport Public Library has the other. Since libraries do not make audio tapes available for interlibrary loans, the only way to listen to the program is to go to one of the two libraries and listen to the radio program in their music room.
Player in Young Man with a Horn
Query. Eric writes on 6/28/99. Who played the trumpet in the film "Young Man With A Horn"?
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 6/28/99. Harry James was the trumpet player. For some time, I have been thinking of writing a section about the book and the movie "Young Man With A Horn". The question provides an impetus to do so.
Follow-up 2. Donald A. Molloy writes on 9/22/99.Harry James shared the soundtrack with Jimmy Zito. James did most of the schmaltz work while Zito played some of the "hot" choruses. This is common knowledge. Jimmy Zito came to fame as the hot trumpet man with the Les Brown band of the 1940s. See Brown's "High on a Windy Trumpet," for example (Columbia), among others.
Remark. Malcom Rockwell writes on 7/20/99.
Rockwell was my father. Little is known about his career with OKeh and
Columbia but I have been putting together a time line on him and your dated
story will go in it, if that's alright. Have you any other dated Bix/TR
stories you'd like to add, or anything else concerning TR?
It's unfortunate he passed away when I was 11 (1958) and I never
knew him as an adult. I am now an avid jazz and blues 78 collector and
oh the stories he could have told!
Follow-up 1. Albert Haim writes on 8/03/99. Thank you for writing. However, I am surprised at the date of your message. July 20? I just received it yesterday. Of course, you are welcome to use whatever I wrote in the Bixography site. I would only ask you to identify the source of the material you use. I have two pieces where your late father is mentioned: Louise and In A Mist. Most of what I wrote is taken from other sources, and you may want to take a look at the original sources. I do not have anything else. I know that Dick Sudhalter refers several times to Tommy Rockwell in his latest book "Lost Chords".
Please let me know if there is anyway that I can help you with your very interesting and useful project. When your work is complete, where do you intend to publish it? I would like to have a copy of it, and if not too long, I may be able to post it in Bix's web site if you wish me to.
P.S. Indeed, your father knew so many things about Bix since he was present at so many of his recording sessions! Did he leave any kind of diary or notes or items associated with his recording career?
Follow-up 2. Malcom Rockwell writes on 8/6/99. Thank you for the book reference, the offer to help and to publish. Once I have enough info I would like to publish in one of the trades (New Amberola Graphic, VJM or something similar) or possibly do a presentation at an upcoming ARSC conference. I am still gathering data and what I am finding is fascinating. For instance I did not know TGR was a jobber for Vocalion in the post WW1 days and that he lived in San Francisco with his first wife (I didn't even know he HAD a first wife!).
And, no, he left no diary that I have come across. Also no shellac and not
much of a paper trail. What was extant was probably tossed by my mother when he died or inadvertantly by my sister and I when our mother passed in 1980. I do have his business address book c. 1957 and that IS an eye-opener and an interesting reference.
An anonymous guest writes on 8/27/99. What's the story with
Parlophone 6311? Did a Trumbauer version of "From Monday On" really get
misprinted on this record or was Michael Brooks (who wrote the
liner notes to the Columbia re-issues) imagining things?
Follow-up 1.Albert Haim writes on 9/2/99. On January 20, 1928, Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra recorded two sides in New York City (OKeh studios): From Monday On (# 400033-A) and Mississippi Mud (#400034-A). From Monday On was rejected. Mississippi Mud was released as OKeh 40979 and Parlophone A-6311, among other issues. In the liners for the Columbia CD "Bix Beiderbecke, Volume 2, "At the Jazz Band Ball", CK46175, Michael Brooks writes, immediately after the liner for Mississippi Mud, the following Producer's Note: "The second tune cut at this date, also with a Crosby vocal, From Monday On, was never released and no master exists. A rumor persists that some copies of Australian Parlophone 6311 had this title pressed by mistake, instead of Mississippi Mud. However, no tape or bootleg issues have ever surfaced and so, until proven wrong, I have to file it with sightings of the Sasquatch and the Wendigo." Michael Brooks' statement seems quite clear to me: he does not believe that such record exists. I do not quite understand what the anonymous writer is getting at when he asks if Michael Brooks "was imagining things". Brian Rust in "Jazz Records, 1897-1942" states: "A rumor persists that copies exist of Australian Parlophone A-6311, using matrix 400033-A when 400034-A was intended." It appears to me that we are dealing only with unsubstantiated rumors. No copy of Par 6311 with "From Monday On" has ever come to light.
The composition of Frankie Trumbauer's Orchestra for Mississippi Mud given in Brian Rust's "Jazz Records, 1897-1942" consists of Bix, Tram, Charlie Margulies (trumpet), Bill Rank (trombone), Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax), Charles Strickfaden (alto sax), Min Leibrook (bass sax), Matt Malneck (violin), Tom Satterfield (piano), Carl Kress (guitar), Harold MacDonald (drums), Bing Crosby (vocal). In what follows, only assignments that differ form Rust's are specified. In Richard Sudhalter and Philip Evans' "Bix: Man or Legend", Eddie Lang is given as the guitar player. In Philip and Linda Evans "Bix: The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story", alto sax, bass sax, and piano are assigned to Chester Hazlett, Adrian Rollini and Lennie Hayton, respectively. In the booklet that accompanies the magnificent Sunbeam set of LP's, Min Leibrook is not included and Eddie Lang is assigned as the guitar player. In the Columbia CD mentioned above, Bill Rank is not included and Eddie Lang is assigned the guitar. The musicians listed in the Masters of Jazz set are the same as the ones listed in Sudhalter and Evans' book.
Five questions arise from these discrepancies. 1. Is Bill Rank included in Mississippi Mud? 2. Is a bass sax player included, and if so, is it Min Leibrook or Adrian Rollini? 3. Is the guitar player Carl Kress or Eddie Lang? 4. Is the piano player Tom Satterfield or Lennie Hayton? 5. Is the alto sax player Charlie Strickfaden or Chester Hazlett?
My answer to 1 is a resounding yes: indeed, Bill Rank is included; he is clearly heard toward the end of the record. I have a partial answer for question 2. Although the bass sax is clearly discerned, it is simply used for a regular bass-line. Under these circumstances, it is hard to identify the player. A similar comment applies to 4: the piano is utilized primarily for rhythmic and harmonic support, and therefore I cannot tell whether it is Satterfield or Hayton. I do not know enough about Strickfaden's or Hazlett's styles to distinguish them in ensemble work. As to the guitar, there are no single line melodic figurations and the style of playing is consistent with what Carl Kress has done. In particular, in Paul Whiteman's recording of San, there is a violin-guitar duo by Matt Malneck and Carl Kress quite reminiscent of the duo in Mississippi Mud. On the other hand, the guitar behind Bing Crosby's singing is similar to what we are accostumed to hear from Eddie lang. I am afraid I must leave this question open, though I lean toward Carl Kress as the player.
I do not understand why there are so many discrepancies among the various lists from the different sources. It will be of interest to scrutinize the personnel lists, compiled by prominent sources, for similar inconsistencies on other Bix records. I would welcome comments and enlightment.
Thornton Hagert writes on 9/4/99:
1938 Victor Catalog lists the "BEIDERBECKE MEMORIAL ALBUM" as consisting
of record numbers 25366-25371, price $5.00, and lists them. None of the
records appear elsewhere in the catalog, apparently not available individually.
Not stated was that most were previously unissued takes. The records
(with take numbers from Evans & Dean-Myatt discography in Sudhalter and Evans "Bix: Man or Legend") are:
Vi 25366 (Whiteman)
Mississippi Mud, take 2
Lonely Melody, take 3
Vi 25367 (Whiteman)
San, take 7
When (reissue of 21338, take 2)
Vi 25368 (Whiteman)
Sugar, take 1
From Monday On, take 4
Vi 25369 (Whiteman)
Louisiana, take 3
You Took Advantage Of Me (reissue of 21398, take 1)
Vi 25370 (Whiteman)
Changes, take 2
(Beiderbecke) Deep Down South (reissue of 23018, take 2)
Vi 25371 (Carmichael)
Bessie Couldn't Help It, take 2
Barnacle Bill (reissue of 38139, take 1)
unissued takes (including Goldkette material) came out in 1936,
1938, and even 1941 but were not part of this Memorial Album. I don't
recall any album notes.
Bix, Man & Legend, by Sudhalter and Evans, 1974, has a discography by
Evans and Dean-Myatt, in which they say (in discussing his efforts to
locate masters of "Play It Red, etc.) that Warren Scholl assembled the
"Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Album" in 1936, but provide no further
information about it. However, they give each of the catalog numbers a
release date of July 30, 1936.
Albert Haim writes on 11/25/99: Recently, I was fortunate enough to purchase a copy of this album. The cover reads: "All Star Album Presenting the Original Pioneers of Swing Dedicated to the Memory of Bix Beiderbecke" and gives the names of Beiderbecke, Trumbauer, Crosby, Venuti, Lang, Rhythm Boys, T. Dorsey, J. Dorsey, Teagarden, Goodman. A little booklet by Warren School, at the time secretary of The Hot Club of New York, comes with the album. A scan of the cover of the booklet is shown at the right. A small addition to Tony's contribution follows. According to the liners in the booklet "You Took Advantage of Me" is a reissue of take 2. However, as noted by Sudhalter and Evans in "Bix: Man and Legend", take 2 is a speeded up version of take 1.
Igor Saika-Voivod from Ontario, Canada writes on 9/8/99. I
am looking for sheet music of Bix's piano suite (In a mist, Candlelight,
Flashes, In the Dark). Is it in print? If so, who publishes it and
how can I obtain it?
Follow-up 1.Albert Haim writes on 9/8/99. The sheet music for Bix's compositions, originally published by "The Robbins Music Corporation of New York", has been out of print for quite some time. Dick Hyman, in an article in the April 1985 issue of "Keyboard", gives a possible alternate source. A book of sheet music called "Ragtime", compiled by David A. Jasen and published by Big 3 Music contains all four piano compositions by Bix.
Another possibility is to try music stores that deal in used items, such as Music Exchange, 151 W. 46th St, New York, NY 10036; 212 354 9595.
Finally, if you have access to a University library, you can get an interlibrary loan from a university that has the sheet music for the four compositions and copy it. To find out which libraries may have "Modern Suite", go to Worldcat in the list of data bases available to any university library.
I am afraid that this is as much as I know.
Any suggestions from readers?
Follow-up 2.Caroline Kraft writes on 9/9/99. I noticed that the ebay auctions at www.ebay.com have sold more than one copy of the original sheet music of "In a Mist", and it typically goes for $20-$50. This is a nice site to look for Bix Beiderbecke 78's too.
I have the Ragtime Vol. 2 book you mentioned from 1985 edited by David
Jansen, and it was not expensive. In addition to all four Beiderbecke piano
compositions, it covers all kinds of novelty and other kinds of really good rags and related music from the 20's to 70's, so it would be worth ordering.
I also ran across an arrangement (improvisation) on "In a Mist" by Mary Lou Williams in a book of piano solos called "The Genius of Jazz Giants-Book 3, Masters of Boogie-Woogie". This really does honor to the piece.
Dick Hyman has a book called Dick Hyman: Piano Pro, geared toward pianists, but very readable (1992, Ekay Music). One of his articles is about Bix Beiderbecke's piano music, and he interviewed Joe Venuti, who played him a fragment of a piece he remembered as one of Bix's unwritten piano
compositions. Hyman transcribed this piece, "Betcha I Getcha", in this
book. It's short, but intriguing. Similar to this is the piece called "Cloudy" that someone plays in the Berman film, which I've not seen transcribed, though it might be. I wonder how many more fragments there are in different publications and in people's heads.
Follow-up 3.Albert Haim writes on 9/9/99. As a matter of fact, I won a copy of the "In A Mist" sheet music on e-bay; the image that visitors see when they open the home page of the Bixography site is from that sheet music.
I have a copy of the original article about Bix and Joe Venuti published by Dick Hyman in "Keyboard". I am in the process of writing an item about "Bix's Compositions: Real or Apocryphal?" which will include "Cloudy" (played by Charlie Davis in Berman's documentary), "Brooklets", "Betcha I Getcha" and "Bix's Tune". There is a transcription of "Cloudy" in Charlie Davis' book "That Band from Indiana" (Mathom Publishing Company, 1982).
Don Ingle writes on 12/27/99:
response to questions about the Jean Goldkette Orchestra after the Victor
band, Goldkette and his partner Charlie Horvath opened a new ballroom,
the Playmore, in Kansas City, and he sent some of his regular unit musicians
to help open it and break in local musicians. Harold Stokes was the leader
of the Playmore band, but it included Hoagy
Carmichael, Andy Secrest and my father Red Ingle among others that were
sent from Detroit. For Red it was a short tenure of a few months before
returning to work back in Detroit with other Goldkette Units. The Playmore band recorded a number of times under the name of Goldkette (musical direction of Harold Stokes) on the labels. I hope this adds to the information.
One other thing I remember was that dad was making a movie with Spike
Jones, with whom he played in the 40's, at Paramount, and he ran into
Jean Goldkette for a brief meeting on the studio lot. Jean had some type of
business dealings with the studio but what I cannot say. He did say
that he was a fairly old looking man at the time, but had recognized him right off.
I am grateful to Don Ingle for his generosity in sending me an image of the photograph of Bix with his father, and for his permission to post the image.
Alex Revell from England writes on 10/01/00. My
congratulations on a magnificent job. Full of fascinating information.
I've been listening to Bix for some 55 years now and that wonderful sound is as fresh now as it was in the beginning. Back in the late forties when very little was issued in England, I used to go junking with a friend from school - I don't think people over here still junk shop, it's all on CD or LP - but I can still vividly recall the excitment of getting home with a Whiteman side and putting it on the record player to see whether or not there was any Bix on it. As each chorus ended and another began - would this be the Bix chorus? right to the end of the record, hoping there just might be a coda. So many disappointments because we then didn't know which of the Whiteman records Bix had played on. But I was lucky with My Pet, Georgie Porgie, That's my Weakness Now, Krazy Kat, Baltimore, and several others. And lots of Miff Mole on Delta Dance Band(?) I seem to remember.
Follow-up 1.Albert Haim writes on 01/22/99. I believe the Miff Mole records are by the Denza Dance Band. This was a pseudonym used on English Columbia for records by several bands, including Ross Gorman and His Earl Carroll Orchestra. Miff Mole recorded with Ross Gorman in 1925 and early 1926.
Mike Fleischmann writes on 01/14/00:
just wanted to share some biographical information with you.
In the book, "Bix: Man and Legend" by Richard Sudhalter, in the
paperback edition, on page 177, (same page number in the hard cover edition, ed.) there is a picture of Bix with Don Murray and
Howdy Quicksell "horsing around" on a stuffed animal. The caption says,
Biographers of Bix may be interested in knowing that the picture was
taken at the Forest Park Highlands amusement park in St. Louis, Missouri. I
know this because I have a picture of myself taken on the same "stuffed"
horse when I was about five years old. I was very surprised and excited when
I discovered, upon close examination, that the horse was obviously the same
one. The pictures were taken about 30 years apart, but it's clear that the
photo studio at the Highlands had not changed much during that time.
I would be glad to send you a copy of the picture should you wish to
verify that the location is the same.
Albert Haim writes on 01/22/00:
thank Mike for giving me permission to post his commentary and his photograph
as a child. There is no question that the location of the photograph of
Bix, Don and Howdy is the same as that of Mike's. Note the identical shapes
of the horses' heads and the identical positions and shapes of the wooden
studs on the wall behind the horses.
I believe this clears up the location. However, there is one small discrepancy left. The caption of the photograph in Sudhalter and Evans' book gives the date as "late 1926". According to the detailed chronology in Evans and Evans' book, the Jean Goldkette orchestra, with Bix, did not visit St. Louis until July 1927.
Based on all of the evidence, it seems safe to conclude that the photograph of Bix, Don and Howdy was taken in Forest Park Highlands, St. Louis, Missouri, sometime in July 1927.
Anecdote About Bix.
Hans Eekhoff writes on 01/30/00: I have been very fortunate to be very close to Bix, having played with Jimmy McPartland, Bud Freeman, Buddy Tate (see below), Mannie Klein, Bill Rank and Spiegle Wilcox.
A nice little anecdote to think about: tenorist (ex Count Basie) Buddy Tate
told me in 1976 how, as a young kid, he went to a Paul Whiteman concert in
1928 and got backstage to meet his idol, Frank Trumbauer. In the dressing
room he met Bix, who had a girl with him and jokingly asked Buddy to look
after her while he (Bix) did the second half of the gig and Trumbauer,
after hearing that Buddy played saxophone, presented him with a box of C melody saxophone reeds which Buddy kept unopened, in its original cellophane wrapper, for the rest of his life.
Peter Blodgett writes from Canada on 07/24/00.
Albert Haim asked me (e-mail, 7/9/00): "What musicians that knew Bix were you acquainted with when you lived in New York? Did they give any information about Bix that is not generally known?"
In 1949 I was in school in Massachusetts where my interest in music and especially Jazz led me to strike up a friendship with another boy who turned out to be Benny Goodman's nephew - his mother was a Hammond (John Hammond's "other" sister). When my friend came to NYC on school vacation (Christmas 1949) he stayed at Mr. Goodman's apartment, and Mr. Goodman took us on a number of rounds of the many clubs, "joints' and after hours places that were so prevalent in New York during that period. We met a great number of musicians, both white and black, and went all over the City - from the Village to Harlem. Being brash 14 year olds, we returned to many of the places Mr. Goodman had taken us to, and were always well-received, in spite of our not being of legal drinking age (18 at that time), as Mr. Goodman's name insured entry into even the most obscure places.
I "haunted" the clubs and joints, and struck up acquaintances and friendships with a number of musicians, both black and white. With only a couple of exceptions, most of these musicians were extremely friendly and amazingly tolerant of "the 'ofay' kid" even though I played a "corny" instrument (banjo) - they were not only very encouraging, but let me "sit in" most of the time! And I wasn't even very good at that time! (I did improve eventually!) Please keep in mind that, at that time, I was interested in all sorts of Hot Jazz, and Bix was only one of the "historical" figures in Jazz that I was interested in - my favourites at that time were mostly existing musicians and groups like Wilbur De Paris and His New New Orleans Jazz Band, Eddie Condon's Band, Lu Watter's Yerba Buena Jazz Band, Bob Wilber, etc., so Bix usually only came up in conversation incidentally. And it was only much later, after I had collected a lot of Bix records, and learned more about him that I realised that I had met and known many who had actually played with Bix, both on records and incidentally.
At that time (circa 1950), Bix Beiderbecke was certainly not the romantic “cult” figure that he has (justifiably!) become! As a kid (I was fifteen in 1950) I was more than a bit intimidated by some of the musicians I met and knew, and was quite shy about asking those sorts of questions in the first place! You also have to understand that the book and subsequent film “Young Man with a Horn” was many non-musicians’ picture of Bix, and both were a source of some irritation for those like Jimmy McPartland, for instance, who knew him very well. In looking back (with 20 20 hindsight!) I regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to pursue the subject, but you must understand that asking questions of those men was, in my mind, “not done” – any more than I would have asked them for their autographs! I wanted to be trusted and to be accepted as a fellow musician, and wouldn’t have dreamed of asking! I do remember many conversations with, for instance, Max Kaminsky who I kept in touch with as late as 1969, and when the subject of Bix Beiderbecke came up, Max got a sad, faraway look in his eye and told me that he would prefer to change the subject. This was the general reception I got from a number of people who knew Bix Beiderbecke well or had heard him play – people like Jack Teagarden, Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson, Sidney De Paris, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Eddie Condon, Muggsy Spanier, and a number of others. I remember the feeling that nobody wanted to talk much about Bix Beiderbecke at that time as there was still a lot of guilt, perhaps, that no one was there for him at the end of his life, and that his death, and the way that he died were somehow a negative reflection on the life of a dedicated Jazz Musician. There was also a bit of the feeling that “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. So I felt that questions about Bix were at least a slight embarrassment for those who knew him. Armstrong did tell me that he felt that Bix Beiderbecke was a unique talent who burned himself out far too quickly – he also admired his tone and phrasing – but these are not startling revelations, as Armstrong has been quoted often regarding his admiration for Bix.
Again, in hindsight, I have developed a great deal of respect for those writers and chroniclers like Ulanov, Feather, Rudi Blesch et. al. who were able to get through this “wall of silence” and who managed to get many of the men I knew to reveal as much as they have about Bix. But they were respected writers, I suppose, and the musicians were more willing to open up to them than they were to talk with a “wet behind the ears” kid. The guys I knew left me with the general feeling of sadness that such a quiet, talented person was so bent on self-destruction. Just the mention of his name seemed to bring a tear (quite literally!) to the eye of many who knew him well – especially those who were, by nature, quite emotional like Wingy Manone who told me “Bix was such a lovely guy”. Some “jealousy” also seemed to exist among a few trumpet players I knew – they may have felt that his premature death elevated others’ opinions of his abilities - but then perhaps it was anger over his lack of fulfilling his potential.
At any rate, I regret that I can’t shed any new light or provide any fresh information regarding Bix. The prevalent attitudes at that time – the early 1950s – were that musicians, and especially Jazz Musicians were somehow never quite “respectable” regardless of their fame or success. As a result, Jazz Musicians may have felt isolated from “respectable” society – I know that, at least in N.Y.C. there was a sort of “club” – nothing “official” of course, but if you were a musician or even a seriously aspiring musician as I was, the unwritten “rules” were that you did not dwell in the past, ask “personal” questions, or behave eccentrically. Remember that there were many “dilettantes” – “fans”, “hangers on”, and what Hoagy Carmichael called “alligators” who were interested in the music, but who were more “sensation seekers” than being truly committed or even involved directly. That’s why musicians, and especially black musicians, developed a “language” of their own that was not readily understood by non-musicians. This was a way of keeping “the club” free from “civilians”. This “language” was picked up at first by the “beatniks”, and then by the “hippies”, and is, of course, now quite universal. I’m bringing this up as an example of how “protective” musicians felt that they must be in order to overcome or at least get by in a society from which they felt isolated or put on “display”. As “public” figures in those days, many musicians were often regarded as “freaks”, “hop heads” (my father’s description!) or worse, because of the actions of a very few who were sensationalized in the media. As a result, many felt that their private feelings and remembrances were to be protected. So, in my situation, I quickly learned to keep my inquiries to myself!
Among most of the men I knew, it was not “cool” to become dependent on drugs or alcohol – not only did it risk ruining one’s health, but it adversely affected one’s ability to perform. If you got loaded or “high” you might think that you were performing brilliantly, but the reality was that you chanced losing your critical judgment, and, as a result, your performance would suffer. “Hard” drugs like “smack” were definitely “out”! Having a few drinks was okay if you knew your limits, and many of the men I knew smoked “gage” – but usually after hours – not “on the job”. I bring this up, because I will be forever grateful for the “education” I received from those men and unlike many of my friends and contemporaries, I have never had a problem with substance abuse (other than tobacco!). This was an important part of being a “member of the club” – you were expected to act sensibly and responsibly toward your “talent”. In trying to recollect those times, and in attempting to figure out why questions about people like Bix, Joe Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, and others, were generally “stonewalled”; perhaps this had something to do with musicians’ reticence to discuss those who failed to look after themselves.
Well, I won’t go on and on – I hope that this will give you a better picture of those times, attitudes, and, hopefully, some of the reasons why I didn’t ask the sorts of questions that, in some ways (in hindsight!) I now wish that I had asked. I am putting together a long list of musicians that I met, knew, or heard live – let me know if that might be of any interest to you – and I’m hoping to eventually put down enough reminiscences to possibly publish as I’ve been encouraged to do so by several friends who are involved in the writing and publishing fields.
John Howard, Founder of the San Francisco Starlight Orchestra, writes on 07/29/00.
And, YES of course, I attended all their Bix Horn Parties
down in Santa Clara at the home of Phil & Phyllis McCoy. Those
were extremely memorable events. People flew in from all over the
country to jam and participate. Those were some of the best music parties
in my life. Everyone skilled on the cornet would reverently caress
Bix's horn and take their turn to play it
in the jam session. I held the horn and admired it, but of course I don't play cornet.
The FIRST Bix Horn party was very funny. Nobody
had ever seen Bix's horn before, and none of the guests were allowed to
see it as they arrived. We were all waiting. You have to know
the McCoy's house -- they have a
built-in movie theater and stage inside their home with player pianos an 1920s and Laurel & Hardy memorabilia all around the room! Suddenly, the lights began to dim, the curtains on stage opened slightly to reveal an old enclosed Victrola playing a Bix tune (I cannot remember which) and a cornet on a stand atop the Victrola illuminated by a dim spotlight! Everyone was motionless and captivated as Bix's music played and the cornet stood in the dim light.
As the record ended, the master of ceremonies walked out
on stage and
accidentally tripped on the Victrola which KNOCKED THE HORN DOWN
to the ground!! Everyone gasped!! And then we realized the joke... as a
smiling Bob Christiansen walked out from behind the curtain carrying a
velvet pouch which he then unzipped to reveal the REAL Bix horn!! It was great fun!
Anyway, such memorable events make for fond memories.
Response to the New York Times Review of "Lost Chords".
On July 11, 1999 the book section of the New York Times published a review (available on line) by Jason Berry of "Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945" by Richard M. Sudhalter. Berry's review is biased and flawed. On July 13, 1999, I sent a letter to the editor of The New York Times Book Review in response to Berry's rather idiotic comments. Unfortunately, the editor decided not to publish my letter. The entire content of my letter follows.
July 13, 1999
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York NY 10836
Attention: Editor of Book Review
In my opinion, a book review
of a non-fiction work must provide general information about the overall
content of the book and an objective critique of the author’s approach,
accuracy, completeness, etc. After reading Mr. Jason Berry’s review (Sunday
Book Review 7/11/99) of Richard Sudhalter’s scholarly tome “Lost Chords:
White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945”, I only had
a vague idea of the factual content of the book. Had I not read the book,
I would have thought that the essence of the book was a political discourse
about the relative importance of black and white contributions to jazz.
I estimate that 90% of Mr. Berry’s review analyzes socio-political questions;
less than 10% refers to the substantive content of the book. In contrast,
Sudhalter’s book (890 + xxii pages) uses at least 98% of the space to provide
biographies of several white jazz giants, technical analyses of the music
they created (several transcriptions are included), commentaries by the
author, bibliographic references and notes. I estimate that less than 1%
of the space is devoted to the questions raised by Mr. Berry. Most of what
Mr. Berry quotes and criticizes is taken from the 8-page introduction.
The reader of the review is left in the dark (or at best in very dim light)
as to the real essence of Sudhalter’s contribution.
Perhaps, had Mr. Berry ventured beyond the first few pages with an open mind, he would have realized that he was dealing with a masterpiece of jazz history that presents an accurate and highly technical analysis of the seminal contributions of white musicians to the development of jazz. “Lost Chords” is not an essay on the relative influence on jazz of black and white musicians. Rather, it is an account of the outstanding creativity of white jazz artists. As stated by Phillip D. Atteberry, Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, in the April 1999 issue of The Mississippi Rag: " It is not possible, in a single review, to touch upon all the excellences of this book. Suffice to say that the chapters on Artie Shaw, Red Norvo and Mildred Bailey, Pee Wee Russell and Jack Teagarden are as intelligent and insightful as anything I've read on the topic. Most books embellish or refine an existing way of thinking. Only a few books prompt us to think in fundamentally new ways, to see a subject through an entirely new lens. “Lost Chords” is one of those rare books. It takes a large investment of time, but it's worth it. In most respects, this is a book that jazz lovers will never finish but will keep returning to as their listening trails expand." Obviously, Mr. Berry is unable, or unwilling, to view the history of jazz from a fresh point of view.
For readers who want an in-depth and balanced critique of Sudhalter’s book, I recommend the review by William H. Youngren in the February issue of Atlantic Monthly (available on the web at
Albert Haim is a professor at State University of New York, editor of a research journal published by the American Chemical Society, and specializes in the life and music of Bix Beiderbecke.
In the article by Peter Watrous
entitled "Telling America's Story Through
America's Music", Ken Burns is quoted: "Race is the soul of the country,
and nowhere is it more evident than in jazz, where a music came out of the
black community and with great generosity was shared with the country."
I am in awe at Burns packing so much nonsense in so little space. Does
Burns mean that race is the spiritual essence of the country? This is news
to me. I always thought that the spiritual essence of our country lay in
the strong belief "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed
with inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the
Pursuit of Happiness." But maybe this view is too old-fashioned and, thus,
no longer valid in an age of political correctness.
In the second part of the quoted
sentence, Burns asserts that one
particular musical creation - jazz - originates from one race. This
represents one of the most rabid forms of racism that I have ever
encountered. Creation is an individual act, and it happens regardless of
race, sex, or age of the creator.
I am also at a loss to understand
how generosity comes into play in the
dissemination of the jazz genre from the black originators to the rest of
the country. Does this mean that, if the black creators had not been
generous, they would have kept jazz a secret to themselves and the rest of
the country would have never known about it? It boggles the mind. These
were professional musicians: they derived economic benefits from their
This is not the first time that
Burns has come up with nonsensical
statements. Ken Burns told an interviewer for the Denver Post (May 2,
2000): "But he [Louis Armstrong] turns out to be - and there's no argument
within the jazz world - the most important person in music. I didn't say
jazz, I said music, in the 20th century. He is to music what Einstein is to
physics and the Wright brothers are to travel. That is the big billboard of
the 'Jazz' series." I find these statements shockingly outrageous.
First, consider the assertion that
Armstrong was the most important person
in music (not in jazz) in the 20th century. It is true that he was a great
trumpet player, that he created great music with his Hot Five and his Hot
Seven, that he inspired many musicians to express their creativity through
the jazz medium. But to state categorically and unequivocally that
Armstrong was the most important musician in the 20th century is a risible
assertion, whether the term "musician" is to be taken narrowly to mean a
performer or more broadly to include composers. How can Armstrong be
considered more important than Stravinsky, Britten, Bartok, Shostakovich,
Mahler, or even Gershwin among composers; or Jasha Heifetz, Vladimir
Horowitz, Enrico Caruso, or even Bing Crosby, among performers?
The second statement relates to
the comparison of the accomplishments of
Armstrong in music to those of Einstein in physics. This is no longer
laughable, it is absurd. The contributions of Einstein led Time Magazine to
name him "Man of the Century". Whether we consider special or general
relativity, the most famous equation in physics (e = mc2), or the
quantization of electromagnetic radiation, Einstein was such a towering
figure that most other scientists of the 20th century are midgets compared
to him. Of course Armstrong's accomplishments were outstanding, but to view
him as the "Man of the 20th Century" in music reveals more about Ken Burns
limited understanding of music than about Armstrong' musical contributions.
Incidentally, Bix's last name is Beiderbecke, not Biederbecke.
Tonight was one of those gigs that
makes playing such a joy. I couldn't
wait to get back home to pass on the experience to all the musicians
and jazz heads on the list.
Barbone Street JB was playing for
an upscale retirement community in
the Philadelphia area. (we have many of them and do 40 gigs a year at
them). This was one that we had been trying to break into for the past several years, and we were a bit nervous. Audience average age was mid to high 80s and some real oldsters 90 to 100+ were also present. So we decided to do our 20s-30s Tin Pan alley tunes, plus "Rosetta", "Sweet Sweetie Gives To Me" for effect. We did "Ain't She Sweet", "Yes Sir That's My Baby," "Margie", etc. The audience of about 150 people went wild. We played balls out loud, energy coming out of the band like crazy etc. And, I sang "I Want a Little Girl", in a slow grind tempo, prefacing
it with a talk about how we loved to do this tune 40 years ago to all the
pretty ladies in the audience. How it worked to get us women then, but
not so much any more etc.
At the end of the program, a well dressed woman who I thought was about 80 stopped by the bandstand to compliment us. She told us how she use to go to the Savoy Ballroom and see Chick Webb, and dance just like "on the Burns Show". She thanked me for bringing back memories of her love life in the 30s with "I Want A Little Girl". I said she must have snuck out of the house as a young girl. She said "young man" (I am 67 so it sounds good to be called that) "I'm older than I look and was on my own by then". She followed that up with how she used to be in love with a saxophone player in the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in the late 20s.
Yep, you guessed it, she was talking
about Frankie Trumbauer and we all
got misty eyed when she said yes, she knew Bix, as one of her girlfriends had a mad crush on him. We spoke for about 15 minutes about Bix, Tram, Louis, Webb, Henderson, Whiteman and Goldkette. And about how devastated all of her friends were when Bix passed in 1931. And how great the music and dancing were. Her eyes sparkled as she relived those years and we reluctantly ended the conversation when we could see she was getting tired. (She was born in 1905)
I have to tell you, I'm still on
a high after that conversation which
took place two hours ago. How lucky can you be to hear something like that from someone who lived it?
"Through his music, Bix is alive."
|A Brief Biography||Articles in Magazines||The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society|
|Bix's Musical Genius||Video Tapes||Items of Special Interest|
|Biographies||Audio Tapes||Information of Related Interest|
|Chapters in Books||Museums||A Stamp for Bix in 2003|
|Scholarly Dissertations||Miscellaneous||Links to Related Sites|
|Obituaries||Readers' Queries and Remarks||Celebration of Bix's Musical Legacy|
The Original 78's
Analysis of Some Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Complete Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Tributes to Bix
Miscellaneous Recordings Related to Bix
In A Mist