Frank Trumbauer & Bix Beiderbecke: Borneo




Frank Trumbauer & His Orchestra (With Bix Beiderbecke)


Bix Restored, Volume 3 (Origin Jazz Library BXCD 07-09)

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Frankie Trumbauer (C-melody saxophone), Bix Beiderbecke (cornet), Bill Rank (trombone), Eddie Lang (guitar),

Charlie Margulis (trumpet), Harold “Scrappy” Lambert (vocals)


Composed by Walter Donaldson


Recorded: New York, April 10, 1928


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

Bix and Tram were jazz’s odd couple. Tram was all business; Bix, increasingly, was all drink. Tram insisted on playing from the charts; Bix, infuriatingly, was content to make it up as he went along. (Even after Bix’s death, Trumbauer complained about how this caused him fits in the studio.) But team them up, even on silly novelty tunes like “Borneo,” and the tension of their friendship yielded great results. Here they record, for the first time, one of their renowned “chase” choruses, with Bix improvising a statement and Tram fashioning a response. At the end, their instruments converge in a single moment of dissonance that feels both humorous and wryly appropriate.

Reviewer: Brendan Wolfe

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