In a recent FaceBook thread (LeonBismarkBeiderbecke), Albert hurled a sturdy blow at the base canard that "Poor Bix" never got to play with musicians of his calibre, who were worthy of his talent. I expanded on this, as follows:
It takes nothing away from the superb musicianship of the guys Bix DID record with (especially Lang, Rollini, Don Murray, Venuti and Tram), to wonder how he sounded in other circumstances with other people. AND those circumstances actually did arise - just not in a recording lab. As a sort of musical chameleon, Bix had the uncanny knack of fitting in perfectly with any group. Over the years, I have read reliable reports that he sat in with Charlie Johnson's Paradise Orchestra (see below), Duke Ellington's Cotton Club Orchestra and other black bands; and with various Chicagoans, including Frank Teschemacher, Joe Sullivan and Gene Krupa. Fats Waller, and of course, Louis Armstrong.
I corresponded briefly in 1967 with John Hammond, at Columbia Records. This was early in my collecting career, and I had inquired as to whether there were any more unissued Bix records lurking in the vaults. Hammond was kind enough to write back and say that regrettably, the cupboard was bare. But he recalled vividly going up to Small’s Paradise in Harlem in early 1928, when he was seventeen or eighteen. He’d become a regular patron, and partook often.
He wrote that one night, Bix sat in with the house band, Charlie Johnson’s Orchestra. At the time, this group included Jimmy Harrison on trombone, Jabbo Smith on trumpet, Edgar Sampson and Benny Carter on reeds and violin, and Cyrus St. Clair on tuba. Fast company, indeed! Hammond reported that Bix sounded like a regular member of the band, blending seamlessly with everyone, and soloing magnificently, carrying on like he never did with his regular outfits. Evidently, Bix sought out great musicians of any stripe, and could adjust instantly to his surroundings. Hammond also said that absolutely nobody minded that Bix was white, not the musicians, nor the patrons, nor the (gangster) management.
I quickly lost this letter, but recollect it decently
Debbie White The stuff dreams are made of....many thanks for sharing, Brad.
· Reply · 2 · 17 hrs
Glenda Teal Childress
Glenda Teal Childress And let's not forget Bix's recordings in 1930 with Teagarden, Krupa, both Dorseys, Goodman, Venuti, Lang, Bud Freeman, and Bubber Miley of Duke Ellington fame. To be fair, IMHO, these guys were second to none, black or white.
Like · Reply · 47 mins
Write a reply...
Cristian Medina Valenzuela
Cristian Medina Valenzuela Here in Chile my contry the Odeon published all the gang and other group from the great Bix until today..
was in 1936
Like · Reply · 2 · 16 hrs
Albert Haim How reliable is John Hammond's account about Bix sitting with Charlie Johnson's orchestra? If you google John Hammond, you will find references to "he [Hammond] didn’t like facts getting in the way of a good story." (Dunstan Prial) and his agenda "He's [Hammond] dedicated to the cause of the Negro." (Otis Ferguson). I am sure everyone knows about the Bessie Smith story.
I am surprised that Evans did not come up with reports of Bix sitting with Duke Ellington's Cotton Club orchestra. You mention "reliable reports." Sources?.
Like · Reply · 1 · 7 hrs
John Wright Can't take the Hammond stories as reliable unless we have interviews with band members to confirm - if the events occurred the musicians would remember it and have talked about it, but I expect there are no recorded memories, so Hammond must be regarded as unreliable and unsubstantiated
Like · Reply · 1 · 6 hrs
Barry McCanna Benny Waters, who played with Charlie Johnson's Orchestra in those years (sic) does not recall Beiderbecke ever sitting in with the band (from Voices of the Jazz Age, by Chip Deffas). Which is not to say that Hammond didn't see Bix sitting in with another band at Small's Paradise. His memory could well have been faulty. Not sure either where Otis Ferguson was coming from. Hammond was quite close to Goodman, and married his sister.
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs · Edited
Glenda Teal Childress
Glenda Teal Childress Sudhalter and Lion both talked about Bix's fondness for sitting in with all sorts of bands about town, in Harlem, in Chicago, and otherwise and had friends in both. But the time has passed to question them now.
Like · Reply · 52 mins · Edited
Albert Haim There is no time limit to correct errors, to add to a subject or to question old data.
Like · Reply · 2 minske · Reply · 2 mins