I doubt that it can get any worse.

I doubt that it can get any worse.

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

August 13th, 2017, 10:42 pm #1

I think this is the worst article ever written about Bix.
Austin Daily, August 11, 1938.
Not just the stupidest psychological claptrap, but also wrong facts. "Frankie Newton another negro with a hot horn." Indeed, Frankie Newton was a negro, but Bix was not.
"Morbidly sensitive person"
"He was frustrated in everything he really felt"
Give me a break!

https://scontent-mia3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=59ED6B5D

Albert
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Brad Kay
Brad Kay

August 14th, 2017, 6:02 am #2

Albert,

Clearly, this piece was sent into the future as a prank, for the sole purpose of Getting Your Goat.

If it really wasn't, it COULD have been.

Just saying.

-Brad K
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Brad Kay
Brad Kay

August 14th, 2017, 6:22 am #3

I think this is the worst article ever written about Bix.
Austin Daily, August 11, 1938.
Not just the stupidest psychological claptrap, but also wrong facts. "Frankie Newton another negro with a hot horn." Indeed, Frankie Newton was a negro, but Bix was not.
"Morbidly sensitive person"
"He was frustrated in everything he really felt"
Give me a break!

https://scontent-mia3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=59ED6B5D

Albert
Seriously, Albert, I agree there is more psychological claptrap per unit of space in this article than in anything else I've ever read about Bix. It's full of bluff and bluster, like it was written in a hurry at the last minute for a grade. We already know what you would have given it!

-Brad K
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Mark Gabrish Conlan
Mark Gabrish Conlan

August 14th, 2017, 11:45 pm #4

I think this is the worst article ever written about Bix.
Austin Daily, August 11, 1938.
Not just the stupidest psychological claptrap, but also wrong facts. "Frankie Newton another negro with a hot horn." Indeed, Frankie Newton was a negro, but Bix was not.
"Morbidly sensitive person"
"He was frustrated in everything he really felt"
Give me a break!

https://scontent-mia3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=59ED6B5D

Albert
"But the important thing about Bix was that when he really played like he felt, he gave listeners a thrill they still remember. If you listen to any of his better records, you get a sensation like watching a man compose a beautiful poem." That sounds about right to me and makes up for the silliness in the rest of this article. It's why people are still talking, writing and, most importantly, listening to Bix 86 years after his death.

Ironically, both Frankie Newton and Red Norvo always struck me as particularly sensitive artists; instead of the two sides this author cited, I'd check out Newton's "The Blues My Baby Gave to Me" and Norvo's "Dance of the Octopus."

Newton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC8Mv8hIWNg

Norvo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6xtI9TWWfw
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Brad Kay
Brad Kay

August 15th, 2017, 2:54 am #5

Think about that phrase, "If you listen to any of his better records, you get a sensation like watching a man compose a beautiful poem."

If you were to catch a man, a poet - Percy Shelley, say - in the act of writing, you would likely see a guy with a pen, perhaps not too comfortable with himself, shifting uneasily in his chair, maybe scratching where it itches, maybe crumpling sheets, maybe crossing things out, maybe in a concentrated sweat, occasionally committing a line or two to paper.

Which is to say, writing a "beautiful poem" is HARD WORK! Not a lot of fun to watch, and certainly not inspiring. I would describe the received sensation as something like dyspepsia.

So we're not talking about the resulting "beautiful poem," which could be inspiring indeed, but about a guy writing.

It's just as Mark Twain said: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

-Brad K
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David Tenner
David Tenner

August 15th, 2017, 4:20 am #6

I think this is the worst article ever written about Bix.
Austin Daily, August 11, 1938.
Not just the stupidest psychological claptrap, but also wrong facts. "Frankie Newton another negro with a hot horn." Indeed, Frankie Newton was a negro, but Bix was not.
"Morbidly sensitive person"
"He was frustrated in everything he really felt"
Give me a break!

https://scontent-mia3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/ ... e=59ED6B5D

Albert
The worst part of the article isn't even about Bix. It's the contrast between Frankie Newton ("another [sic!] negro with a hot horn") and the "intelligent, cultured" Red Norvo. As if a "negro" can't be "intelligent, cultured." By all accounts, Frank Newton (like Trumbauer, he preferred to be called Frank rather than Frankie) was a very intelligent man: "Nat Hentoff has written eloquently of Newton, whom he knew in Boston, and the man who comes through is proud, thoughtful, definite in his opinions, politically sensitive, infuriated by racism and by those who wanted to limit his freedoms." https://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2008/07 ... nk-newton/ As for Newton's and Norvo's music, to contrast an up-tempo performance by Newton with a ballad by Norvo proves nothing; one could easily reverse the process.

There are plenty of examples of Newton's sensitivity as a trumpet player in slow and medium tempos. Mark has already mentioned "The Blues My Baby Gave to Me." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qHhComkIC4 And listen to Newton in Midge Williams' "An Old Flame Never Dies." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHB_-lg4M_4 Or hear him in "Parallel Fifths" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moqvppC8FGY Or with Mary Lou Williams in "Lullaby of the Leaves." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYGr4DX6kA8 Or with Miss Rhapsody in "Sweet Man." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_LjEPNBMVw Or with James P. Johnson, in "The Dream (Slow Drag"). http://picosong.com/wssLU/ Or with Big Joe Turner on "S.K. Blues" (which also includes some great Don Byas on tenor sax). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYWJDxVvZ6E

At least I can thank the author of that article for giving me an excuse to write about Newton, one of my favorite musicians!
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

August 15th, 2017, 10:16 am #7

Think about that phrase, "If you listen to any of his better records, you get a sensation like watching a man compose a beautiful poem."

If you were to catch a man, a poet - Percy Shelley, say - in the act of writing, you would likely see a guy with a pen, perhaps not too comfortable with himself, shifting uneasily in his chair, maybe scratching where it itches, maybe crumpling sheets, maybe crossing things out, maybe in a concentrated sweat, occasionally committing a line or two to paper.

Which is to say, writing a "beautiful poem" is HARD WORK! Not a lot of fun to watch, and certainly not inspiring. I would describe the received sensation as something like dyspepsia.

So we're not talking about the resulting "beautiful poem," which could be inspiring indeed, but about a guy writing.

It's just as Mark Twain said: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

-Brad K
I doubt that the erstwhile dopey writer would have expected such a literal interpretation. "like watching a man compose a beautiful poem" is surely intended as a metaphorical remark that alludes to a man finding artistic inspiration. OK, it's not exactly an allegorical masterpiece on a par with Shelley, but I think we can forgive him for that. After all, Mark Twain recognised that "Everything has its limit - iron ore cannot be educated into gold."

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carl
carl

August 15th, 2017, 10:57 pm #8

The worst part of the article isn't even about Bix. It's the contrast between Frankie Newton ("another [sic!] negro with a hot horn") and the "intelligent, cultured" Red Norvo. As if a "negro" can't be "intelligent, cultured." By all accounts, Frank Newton (like Trumbauer, he preferred to be called Frank rather than Frankie) was a very intelligent man: "Nat Hentoff has written eloquently of Newton, whom he knew in Boston, and the man who comes through is proud, thoughtful, definite in his opinions, politically sensitive, infuriated by racism and by those who wanted to limit his freedoms." https://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2008/07 ... nk-newton/ As for Newton's and Norvo's music, to contrast an up-tempo performance by Newton with a ballad by Norvo proves nothing; one could easily reverse the process.

There are plenty of examples of Newton's sensitivity as a trumpet player in slow and medium tempos. Mark has already mentioned "The Blues My Baby Gave to Me." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qHhComkIC4 And listen to Newton in Midge Williams' "An Old Flame Never Dies." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHB_-lg4M_4 Or hear him in "Parallel Fifths" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moqvppC8FGY Or with Mary Lou Williams in "Lullaby of the Leaves." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYGr4DX6kA8 Or with Miss Rhapsody in "Sweet Man." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_LjEPNBMVw Or with James P. Johnson, in "The Dream (Slow Drag"). http://picosong.com/wssLU/ Or with Big Joe Turner on "S.K. Blues" (which also includes some great Don Byas on tenor sax). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYWJDxVvZ6E

At least I can thank the author of that article for giving me an excuse to write about Newton, one of my favorite musicians!
Some I had never heard. I just have to add my own favourite.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1i8x_wKNAA

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Bob Spoo
Bob Spoo

August 16th, 2017, 4:56 am #9

Think about that phrase, "If you listen to any of his better records, you get a sensation like watching a man compose a beautiful poem."

If you were to catch a man, a poet - Percy Shelley, say - in the act of writing, you would likely see a guy with a pen, perhaps not too comfortable with himself, shifting uneasily in his chair, maybe scratching where it itches, maybe crumpling sheets, maybe crossing things out, maybe in a concentrated sweat, occasionally committing a line or two to paper.

Which is to say, writing a "beautiful poem" is HARD WORK! Not a lot of fun to watch, and certainly not inspiring. I would describe the received sensation as something like dyspepsia.

So we're not talking about the resulting "beautiful poem," which could be inspiring indeed, but about a guy writing.

It's just as Mark Twain said: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

-Brad K
Some writers and other verbally talented people have an ability to speak beautifully, in cascading phrases and sentences that seem perfect and perfectly formed, though in fact they are unrehearsed. Oscar Wilde was one such person. Those who had heard him hold forth at dinners and parties said that the sensation was astonishing. He seemed to have pre-composed his bons mots and flights of fancy. Some were, in fact, prepared and polished over time, but others were extemporaneous, the products of a gift for talking beautifully, in spontaneous prose poetry. Wilde's talk seems like Bix's music in this creative respect. In fact, people who knew Wilde said his writing was not as daring and stunning as his conversation--a little like the old claim that the recorded Bix never fully captured the thrill of hearing Bix play live. So, for me, the comparison between Bix's music and composed, written poetry is faulty. It is the spontaneous gift of spoken poetry and wit, granted to some people, that is the more apt analogy.
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Debbie White
Debbie White

August 18th, 2017, 8:33 pm #10

..and oh, the admiration I have for those with the gift of spontaneous eloquence.
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