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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Vol. 2 Bix Lives!

Original Recordings 1926-1930

Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120712


  1. Wa-Da-Da (Everybody’s Doin’ It Now)
  2. Clementine (from New Orleans)
  3. Jazz Me Blues
  4. At The Jazz Band Ball
  5. There’s a Cradle in Caroline
  6. Slow River
  7. Sunday
  8. Clarinet Marmalade
  9. Idolizing
  10. Riverboat Shuffle
  11. Ostrich Walk
  12. I’m Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now
  13. Blue River
  14. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
  15. Borneo
  16. My Pet
  17. Take Your Tomorrow (and Give It Me Today)
  18. Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
  19. Bessie Couldn’t Help It
  20. Barnacle Bill the Sailor

It is quite possible that there is a greater weight of paper that has been written about Bix, than the weight of his 78rpm records. He is one of the legendary figures of jazz, whose melodic style and short life, has provided authors and journalists with much of the basis for the fact and fiction that surrounds him.

Five of the tracks on this record feature Bix as a sideman with Jean Goldkette’s Band during 1926/7, not an out and out jazz outfit, but at least Clementine contains a classic Bix solo. Jazz Me Blues and At the Jazz Band Ball find him in the more appropriate company of his own band and he sounds to be at his best with this combination. Nine of the tracks feature Bix in a band led by saxist Frankie Trauber and he can be heard to great effect on tracks like Clarinet Marmalade and Riverboat Shuffle. The 1930 sessions have Bix with Hoagy Carmichael amongst others; there is an obvious empathy between the two of them. The last track has a vocal by Joe Venuti on which the words are rather unclear, to say the least.

Considering that these recordings were made in 1926 to 1930, the bands sound good and the clean up Naxos have provided for this CD is excellent. Whilst acknowledging Bix’s significant contribution to jazz, he was one of the most outstanding trumpet players in this era of jazz, some of this material is ‘corny’. I feel sure that if he were alive he would have wanted some of it consigned to the scrap bin! On the other hand there is some good material and it is true to say the exceptional quality of Bix’s playing shines out through everything. My favourite tracks are those that have him featured with classic jazz instrumentation, I suspect he preferred that too, because a ‘zip’ comes into his playing on those tracks.

Don Mather


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