Frank Trumbauer & Bix Beiderbecke: Singin' the Blues


Singin' the Blues


Frank Trumbauer & His Orchestra (with Bix Beiderbecke)


Bix & Tram (JSP Records 913)

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Bix Beiderbecke (cornet), Frankie Trumbauer (C-melody saxophone), Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto sax), Bill Rank (trombone), Eddie Lang (guitar),

Doc Ryker (alto sax), Paul Mertz (piano), Chauncey Morehouse (drums)


Recorded: New York, February 4, 1927


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Bix needed Louis (at least in retrospect) to define his style; he needed Trumbauer just to get through the day. The straight-and-narrow saxman, known to his friends as Tram, was the source of personal and professional stability for Bix, and when the two finally hooked up in the studio, they produced a masterpiece. It’s easy to forget that Trumbauer’s solo, which opens the number with unprecedented lyricism, was as important in its time as Bix’s. “Trumbauer always told a little story,” Lester Young explained. It was not about dancing, in other words, or virtuosity; it was about feeling. When Bix chimes in, jazz changed forever. Here was jazz’s first balladeer. His solo, though improvised, feels like a finished composition – restrained, precise, and governed by melody instead of chord changes and tempo.

Reviewer: Brendan Wolfe

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Bixology, an excerpt from a book by Brendan Wolfe
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Bix Beiderbecke Performances by Brendan Wolfe

Remembering Bix by Ted Gioia
Bix Beiderbecke from’s Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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