Bix, Mrs. Tram, Joe Wilder, Tom Talbert, and Marc Myers!

Bix, Mrs. Tram, Joe Wilder, Tom Talbert, and Marc Myers!

Michael Steinman
Michael Steinman

November 17th, 2009, 6:22 pm #1

I don't know how many readers on this list visit Marc Myers' blog, JAZZ WAX. Although Marc is a peerless interviewer and researcher, perhaps his taste in jazz might strike some Bixians as mildly futuristic -- Clifford Jordan more than Cliff Edwards. But his site is worth visiting for the first-hand history he uncovers. Today is a special pleasure --

http://www.jazzwax.com/2009/11/tom-talb ... -fats.html

because his post is about Tom Talbert's BIX DUKE FATS, and he did the fine thing of asking the legendary and beloved Joe Wilder about the sessions. Joe is always generous with praise, but the story he tells about meeting Mrs. Trumbauer is worth reading.

And when Joe -- who is now I think 87? -- played last September at Chautauqua, he left people open-mouthed in astonishment, musicians as well as audience members, with his facility, wit, and feeling. A great man!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 17th, 2009, 7:18 pm #2


One of the tracks in the album "Bix, Fats and Duke is "In A Mist," Bix's immortal composition. I played that track in WBIX program # 23 (10/21/2000).

http://bixography.com/wbix23.ram

Talbert's recording comes in at 8:20. I did not like the version at the time I played it; and I don't like it now. In my opinion, what Bix was trying to convey with "In A Mist" is lost in Talbert's interpretation.

Albert
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 17th, 2009, 8:07 pm #3

I don't know how many readers on this list visit Marc Myers' blog, JAZZ WAX. Although Marc is a peerless interviewer and researcher, perhaps his taste in jazz might strike some Bixians as mildly futuristic -- Clifford Jordan more than Cliff Edwards. But his site is worth visiting for the first-hand history he uncovers. Today is a special pleasure --

http://www.jazzwax.com/2009/11/tom-talb ... -fats.html

because his post is about Tom Talbert's BIX DUKE FATS, and he did the fine thing of asking the legendary and beloved Joe Wilder about the sessions. Joe is always generous with praise, but the story he tells about meeting Mrs. Trumbauer is worth reading.

And when Joe -- who is now I think 87? -- played last September at Chautauqua, he left people open-mouthed in astonishment, musicians as well as audience members, with his facility, wit, and feeling. A great man!
I will write to Bill Trumbauer and mention Marc's page with the story about Bill's grandmother. I am sure Bill will enjoy the story.

Albert

 
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 18th, 2009, 12:42 pm #4

One of the tracks in the album "Bix, Fats and Duke is "In A Mist," Bix's immortal composition. I played that track in WBIX program # 23 (10/21/2000).

http://bixography.com/wbix23.ram

Talbert's recording comes in at 8:20. I did not like the version at the time I played it; and I don't like it now. In my opinion, what Bix was trying to convey with "In A Mist" is lost in Talbert's interpretation.

Albert
.... listen to Dom Cerulli comnent on his reaction when he first listened to the album "Bix Fats Duke."

http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/jazz/jp.talbert7.ram

This comes courtesy of the NPR site

http://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofile ... lbert.html

Albert
Last edited by ahaim on November 18th, 2009, 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 18th, 2009, 1:35 pm #5

One of the tracks in the album "Bix, Fats and Duke is "In A Mist," Bix's immortal composition. I played that track in WBIX program # 23 (10/21/2000).

http://bixography.com/wbix23.ram

Talbert's recording comes in at 8:20. I did not like the version at the time I played it; and I don't like it now. In my opinion, what Bix was trying to convey with "In A Mist" is lost in Talbert's interpretation.

Albert
From the liners for the CD SB 3013 BIX FATS DUKE written by Tom Talbert in 1956.

<img alt="[linked image]" src="http://www.freshsoundrecords.com/cp_images/c5092-2.jpg">

"Beiderbecke's <em>In A Mist </em>drifts a haunting theme of only two measures duration through a hazy, seemingly improvised, set of byways. The parallel ninths, a favorite Debussy device, lend themselves to an atonal wandering. In my arrangement, I tightened the over-all piece but broadened the second theme. Joe Wilder was the trumpet player of my choice for Bix's compositions. With his highly developed harmonic sense and a taste which, like good manners, eludes you until you realize everything has been done just right, he creates a mood we all too seldom hear."

That was, in part, why I did not like Talbert's interpretation of <em>In A Mist</em>: the mood he created is completely different from that implied/suggested by Bix  in his own recording of the tune. As Bill Challis said, "One thing I hate to hear is for people to play <em>In A Mist</em> and improvise the tune. It is already an improvisation in itself. Play it the way Bix put it down.!" Of course, what Talbert does is not an improvisation, but an arrangement. Whether an improvisation or an arrangement, I am with Bill Challis.

Albert
Last edited by ahaim on November 18th, 2009, 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brendan Wolfe
Brendan Wolfe

November 18th, 2009, 6:51 pm #6

There's certainly no arguing matters of preference, Albert. But I'm wondering whether you think Talbert had some obligation to reproduce the mood of the original. (Seems to me he didn't.) And I know that Challis had a rough time getting Bix's piano pieces down on paper, so perhaps it was frustrating then to have people ignore all that work . . . but still. Since when do jazzmen (since when did Bix) ever just play it as written?

Bix's version of his own composition can certainly stand on its own. But shouldn't musicians be encouraged to make it their own?
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Alberta
Alberta

November 18th, 2009, 7:58 pm #7

From the liners for the CD SB 3013 BIX FATS DUKE written by Tom Talbert in 1956.

<img alt="[linked image]" src="http://www.freshsoundrecords.com/cp_images/c5092-2.jpg">

"Beiderbecke's <em>In A Mist </em>drifts a haunting theme of only two measures duration through a hazy, seemingly improvised, set of byways. The parallel ninths, a favorite Debussy device, lend themselves to an atonal wandering. In my arrangement, I tightened the over-all piece but broadened the second theme. Joe Wilder was the trumpet player of my choice for Bix's compositions. With his highly developed harmonic sense and a taste which, like good manners, eludes you until you realize everything has been done just right, he creates a mood we all too seldom hear."

That was, in part, why I did not like Talbert's interpretation of <em>In A Mist</em>: the mood he created is completely different from that implied/suggested by Bix  in his own recording of the tune. As Bill Challis said, "One thing I hate to hear is for people to play <em>In A Mist</em> and improvise the tune. It is already an improvisation in itself. Play it the way Bix put it down.!" Of course, what Talbert does is not an improvisation, but an arrangement. Whether an improvisation or an arrangement, I am with Bill Challis.

Albert
and I take your point that the Talbert arrangement is a huge departure from the intention, mood, and tonality of In a Mist, but I adore the chords and the Wilder performance. When I first heard it I thought it was a tremendous compliment to Bix that his piece inspired such an interesting interpretation. And I think the Talbert work is so lovely that Bix himself might very well have been pleased at the gesture.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 18th, 2009, 8:59 pm #8

There's certainly no arguing matters of preference, Albert. But I'm wondering whether you think Talbert had some obligation to reproduce the mood of the original. (Seems to me he didn't.) And I know that Challis had a rough time getting Bix's piano pieces down on paper, so perhaps it was frustrating then to have people ignore all that work . . . but still. Since when do jazzmen (since when did Bix) ever just play it as written?

Bix's version of his own composition can certainly stand on its own. But shouldn't musicians be encouraged to make it their own?
....  <em>chacun à son goût.</em>  I am only expressing my predilection. I don't require anyone nor do I expect many (or a few, or anyone!) to follow my inclinations. I don't tell people what to do.

I view Bix's <em>In A Mist </em>as I do classic piano compositions, a sonata by Beethoven, an etude by Chopin. I wish to see interpreters follow closely the creation by the composer. <em>In a Mist</em> is a piano composition, let it be played by pianists. Each pianist, by necessity, will bring in his own sensibility, but <em>for me </em>the basic message should be that intended, explicitly or implictly, by the composer. I enjoy listening to the various renditions of <em>In A Mist</em>, Dick Hyman's, Armand Hug, Ralph Sutton, etc., all different from each other, but all displaying a homage to Bix's original conception.

Albert

 
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Brendan Wolfe
Brendan Wolfe

November 18th, 2009, 9:49 pm #9

Thanks for the response, Albert. I certainly didn't read you as telling me what to do. But your inclinations do suggest a way of thinking -- and that is, as you say, that "interpreters [should] follow closely the creation by the composer." I just wonder if jazz would exist as such if jazzmen were to follow those inclinations. Perhaps, for the sake of this discussion, "In a Mist" is not jazz but a classical etude. In that case, by all means, play what's on the page. But if it's jazz, then worrying about what Bix "intended, explicitly or implicitly," seems beside the point. The point of jazz (and I mean this loosely, because honestly, what the heck do I know?) is to use the tune only as a point of departure. Don't let Bix or anyone else tell you where to go. Follow your own nose!
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

November 18th, 2009, 11:56 pm #10

One of the tracks in the album "Bix, Fats and Duke is "In A Mist," Bix's immortal composition. I played that track in WBIX program # 23 (10/21/2000).

http://bixography.com/wbix23.ram

Talbert's recording comes in at 8:20. I did not like the version at the time I played it; and I don't like it now. In my opinion, what Bix was trying to convey with "In A Mist" is lost in Talbert's interpretation.

Albert
It is not altogether surprising that Bix's piano compositions, which draw as much from early 20th Century "modern" classical music as they do from jazz, fit rather well into the post-war jazz genre that has become rather tritely known as the "cool school". Bix's fundamentally harmonic way of thinking compositionally (vertically shall way say, rather than melodically horizontal) would have "clicked" with the late 1940s and 1950s exponents of modern jazz, especially of the West Coast variety. There are elements of "In A Mist" that seem to presage the work of Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan (both of whom recorded "Davenport Blues", incidentally).
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