Dave Frishberg: Dear Bix
Dave Frishberg (piano, vocals)
Lookin' Good (Concord Jazz 4998)
Dave Frishberg (piano, vocals),
Bob Findlay (cornet).
Composed by Dave Frishberg.
Recorded: Los Angeles, January 25 or 26, 1977
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
I have to admit a personal preference for this song. In my freshman year at the University of Northern Colorado, I was featured on a vocal jazz arrangement of this piece. The arranger of that setting, Scott Fredrickson, was also the director of the ensemble, and he told me about Dave Frishberg and about a life-sized poster of Bix Beiderbecke that hung on the wall in Frishberg’s home. As the resident jazz historian at UNC, I took particular pride in singing this beautiful tribute to the late cornetist. A few years later, I heard this duet version from an early Frishberg album and I was captivated all over again. There is a marvelous intimacy to the lyric, as it speaks to Bix directly, referring to him as an old friend and chum, and tells him that he’s no ordinary, standard B-flat, run-of-the-mill type guy. What makes the performance so special is that there’s no attempt to imitate Bix; indeed, Bob Findlay sounds like Bobby Hackett to me, which is quite fitting. In fact, the only snippet of music that comes from Beiderbecke is the famous tag from “I’m Coming Virginia”, and while that quote is appropriate, it almost seems at odds with the aesthetic of non-imitation that held for most of the performance.
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe