Is Anyone Else Listening to Phil Schaap?

Russell Davies
Russell Davies

March 14th, 2018, 11:41 pm #21

Here is another recording of "I'm In The Seventh Heaven":-


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5xQ_cAAcmE


In this British recording (on the rather rare Worldecho label), Cavan O'Connor sings "Heck". Since the studio band here uses a stock arrangement, I assume that it was "Heck" in the printed stock rather than "Hell". The word "hell" was certainly considered blasphemous at the time the song was published and would have been on the list of "taboo" words, along with "damn" and a number of other words that are not considered particularly profane today.

Regarding the Whiteman version, I certainly agree with Russell Davies that when Bix re-enters for those last eight bars of his solo, it does have that "I can still do it" quality, in much the same way that Bix attempts octave jumps in the second half of his two-part muted solo in Trumbauer's "I Like That", though sadly, he doesn't quite make on that occasion (by that, I mean his slightly rusty embouchure can't provide the control to land on the higher note of the octave jump in tune).

Incidentally, the nice hot trumpet on the Worldecho version is by Sylvester Ahola, who was a heck of a fine trumpet player, as well as a hell of a good soloist!; however, the thin-sounding and boxy quality of these shellac-coated card-cored 78s hardly helps his tone, damn it!
Yes, Nick, I haven't seen the sheet music for "Seventh Heaven", but I wouldn't be surprised if "Heck" were the term chosen for the printed lyric. But of course, publishers have their own means of censorship. Two scenarios are still imaginable: a) the writers submitted "hell" in their lyric, but the publisher insisted on softening it, or b) the writers intended to submit "hell", but said to themselves "Aw, they'll never print that, let's save ourselves the trouble." I still think that after all the cooing, idealistic heaven-stuff, "hell" carries a nice little shock value.

Those high notes are interesting. "I Like That", as you point out, uses the same tactic, and in the last eight once again. And the chosen high-note destination is upper B-flat, in both cases. In my trumpeting days, I must say I felt more secure going for the octave jump on an open (unvalved) note, be it F to F, or B-flat to B-flat (concert) -- no idea why really, except that I wasn't a regular trumpeter, but a trombonist doubling. (The difference between these recordings is that on the Trumbauer cut, made just over three weeks later, Bix gives himself the shelter of the derby mute.) I don't suppose Bix ever recorded a comparable high-note again, did he? I haven't checked, but I can't recall one.

But the other high notes of Bix's that have always bothered me are the ones towards the end of "Goose Pimples", a performance I'm otherwise very fond of (the jaunty main theme is one of the best-disguised 12-bar blues in the catalogue, as we spell it in the UK). Bix's repeated high notes here are anxiously sharp -- but what is the pitch meant to to be? "Goose Pimples" is a recording that's been much reissued, but seldom at precisely the same pitch twice. Usually it falls in the crack between notes, as my son Matt says (he has perfect pitch, and suffers a lot from this sort of thing.) The original sheet music is written in D-flat -- Fletcher Henderson, the co-composer, liked to get away from the expected keys (C, F, G, B-Flat, E-Flat, A-Flat) when he could -- and if Bix's gang played the tune in that key, then the high notes would be A-flats. But on many transfers, they come out nearer A -- which would make them sharp twice: once because the recording/reissue has sped them up, and twice because Bix overcooks the notes, particularly at the start.

All this will be boring to many Forumites, for which I apologise. I've an idea the subject has been visited before, but I can't find it...





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Joined: March 16th, 2018, 8:41 am

March 16th, 2018, 9:26 am #22

Hi Russell,
 
You ask "I don't suppose Bix ever recorded a comparable high-note again, did he?"
 
The only other recording I can think of is Trumbauer's "Louise", in which Bix plays four bars of high notes in the coda, punched out in the same declamatory style (his rusty embouchure is again in evidence though, and he plays what sounds like a clam - so maybe it isn't declamatory!!). Of course, it's Secrest soloing at the start.

As for the octave jumps in "I Like That", don't forget Bix's unorthodox fingering - maybe that explains why he chose to land on upper B-flat! (I'm not saying it definitely is, but just offering up a possible explanation).

Regarding "Goose Pimples", D-flat sounds correct, and that is the main key of Henderson's own recording (as the Dixie Stompers). By the way, I have a notion that the original composer of "Goose Pimples" is Fats Waller. I posted about this last year, but I can't find the post and probably won't be able to until the search function is up and running!
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:47 pm

March 17th, 2018, 7:21 am #23

Nick Dellow wrote: Regarding "Goose Pimples", D-flat sounds correct, and that is the main key of Henderson's own recording (as the Dixie Stompers). By the way, I have a notion that the original composer of "Goose Pimples" is Fats Waller. I posted about this last year, but I can't find the post and probably won't be able to until the search function is up and running!
Nick, your post on Fats Waller and "Goose Pimples" is at goose-pimples-t9957.html#p51465  (Really, while I wish the search function here would work, there is such a thing as Google...)
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

March 17th, 2018, 6:26 pm #24

For a high b-flat, there are so many possible fingerings that 'unorthodox' fingering wouldn't be much of an issue.

Mouthpiece pressure, as a forcing technique, is enough to account for drifting sharp on high notes. I was bady misinformed in my early struggles with the cornet and managed to injure myself without ever being confident above the staff.
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Joined: March 18th, 2018, 7:10 pm

March 24th, 2018, 2:17 am #25

Russell Davies wrote:
Here is another recording of "I'm In The Seventh Heaven":-


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5xQ_cAAcmE


In this British recording (on the rather rare Worldecho label), Cavan O'Connor sings "Heck". Since the studio band here uses a stock arrangement, I assume that it was "Heck" in the printed stock rather than "Hell". The word "hell" was certainly considered blasphemous at the time the song was published and would have been on the list of "taboo" words, along with "damn" and a number of other words that are not considered particularly profane today.

Regarding the Whiteman version, I certainly agree with Russell Davies that when Bix re-enters for those last eight bars of his solo, it does have that "I can still do it" quality, in much the same way that Bix attempts octave jumps in the second half of his two-part muted solo in Trumbauer's "I Like That", though sadly, he doesn't quite make on that occasion (by that, I mean his slightly rusty embouchure can't provide the control to land on the higher note of the octave jump in tune).

Incidentally, the nice hot trumpet on the Worldecho version is by Sylvester Ahola, who was a heck of a fine trumpet player, as well as a hell of a good soloist!; however, the thin-sounding and boxy quality of these shellac-coated card-cored 78s hardly helps his tone, damn it!
Yes, Nick, I haven't seen the sheet music for "Seventh Heaven", but I wouldn't be surprised if "Heck" were the term chosen for the printed lyric. But of course, publishers have their own means of censorship. Two scenarios are still imaginable: a) the writers submitted "hell" in their lyric, but the publisher insisted on softening it, or b) the writers intended to submit "hell", but said to themselves "Aw, they'll never print that, let's save ourselves the trouble." I still think that after all the cooing, idealistic heaven-stuff, "hell" carries a nice little shock value.

Those high notes are interesting. "I Like That", as you point out, uses the same tactic, and in the last eight once again. And the chosen high-note destination is upper B-flat, in both cases. In my trumpeting days, I must say I felt more secure going for the octave jump on an open (unvalved) note, be it F to F, or B-flat to B-flat (concert) -- no idea why really, except that I wasn't a regular trumpeter, but a trombonist doubling. (The difference between these recordings is that on the Trumbauer cut, made just over three weeks later, Bix gives himself the shelter of the derby mute.) I don't suppose Bix ever recorded a comparable high-note again, did he? I haven't checked, but I can't recall one.

But the other high notes of Bix's that have always bothered me are the ones towards the end of "Goose Pimples", a performance I'm otherwise very fond of (the jaunty main theme is one of the best-disguised 12-bar blues in the catalogue, as we spell it in the UK). Bix's repeated high notes here are anxiously sharp -- but what is the pitch meant to to be? "Goose Pimples" is a recording that's been much reissued, but seldom at precisely the same pitch twice. Usually it falls in the crack between notes, as my son Matt says (he has perfect pitch, and suffers a lot from this sort of thing.) The original sheet music is written in D-flat -- Fletcher Henderson, the co-composer, liked to get away from the expected keys (C, F, G, B-Flat, E-Flat, A-Flat) when he could -- and if Bix's gang played the tune in that key, then the high notes would be A-flats. But on many transfers, they come out nearer A -- which would make them sharp twice: once because the recording/reissue has sped them up, and twice because Bix overcooks the notes, particularly at the start.

All this will be boring to many Forumites, for which I apologise. I've an idea the subject has been visited before, but I can't find it...
This is an interesting discussion, for sure. I transcribed all of Bix's lead lines and his solos from "Goose Pimples" and "Wa-Da-Da" for a CBC Radio drama show a number of years ago (the protagonist of the radio drama was a journalist who was a Bix fan and these songs were mentioned in the script). "Goose Pimples" is definitely in Db concert and the highest note in Bix's solo is a Bb (one octave and a minor 7th above piano middle C). It's a great solo and did an arrangement of the whole thing (using Bix's lead lines) for my nonet (which uses the same instrumentation as the Miles Davis "Birth of the Cool" ensemble). 
The solo is one of Bix's rare forays into the upper register but like "From Monday On" an exciting piece of soloing.
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Joined: March 16th, 2018, 8:41 am

March 29th, 2018, 9:36 am #26

Alan, I've just realised that you are the person who several years ago - on this forum - pointed out that the main melody of "Goose Pimples" (the Db major, blues-based melody) is very similar in shape to the "Second Studies" in the Herbert L Clarke "Technical Studies" book. I have long felt that Bix may very well have studied Clarke's exercises. For example, there is a notable Clarke-type run in Bix's solo on the Wolverines' "Tiger Rag".
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Joined: March 18th, 2018, 7:10 pm

March 30th, 2018, 5:14 pm #27

Nick Dellow wrote: Alan, I've just realised that you are the person who several years ago - on this forum - pointed out that the main melody of "Goose Pimples" (the Db major, blues-based melody) is very similar in shape to the "Second Studies" in the Herbert L Clarke "Technical Studies" book. I have long felt that Bix may very well have studied Clarke's exercises. For example, there is a notable Clarke-type run in Bix's solo on the Wolverines' "Tiger Rag".
You're right about the Clarke type run in the 1924 "Tiger Rag" solo. While Bix's contact with formal cornet lesson was limited at best, no doubt he heard other players making use of the Herbert L. Clarke studies in their warm-up routines.
Bix could have likely learned these exercises by ear. Certainly, if he did practice the Clarke studies, they would aid the amazing "flow" Bix brought to his cornet playing. While Bix may have studied with trumpet Joseph Gustat (then the principal trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony) when Bix was located in St. Louis with the Trumbauer orchestra (there still seems to be controversy about this) Bix, at his peak, played an ease and flow that comes the idea of a consistent air stream that the Clarke studies promote.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

March 30th, 2018, 5:37 pm #28

Someone, (Mezzrow? Berton?) mentions seeing Bix practicing chromatic triplets, which describes one of the first Clarke exercises.

I heard a fellow section-member warming up with them. I asked 'Clarke?' and he didn't know who I meant. I think Bix could easily have been exposed to them. And even if he wasn't reading well enough to pass the union test, he could easily have doped them out, or learned them by a single hearing...
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Joined: March 18th, 2018, 7:10 pm

March 30th, 2018, 5:46 pm #29

Yes, that story is in Berton (which due to it's often-fictional nature, I was careful about citing).You're correct that the 1st Clarke study can be played in triplets (along with another study-the 7th?-that uses chromatic triplets). I learned a lot of these by ear, too, at a music camp when I was 13 or so. My trumpet teacher, Vincent Cichowicz (of the Chicago Symphony), was often talking about Bix's technique in our lessons (he was also a big Jack Teagarden fan)
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

March 31st, 2018, 12:16 am #30

I heard several 78s of Clarke when I was struggling, and grabbed a copy of the 'studies' soon after. I haven't seen mind 30 years at least, so I don't trust my memory too much about which one was played as an endless series of ½ step triplets from the bottom range on up.
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