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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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The Collection 1924-1930

Fabulous FADCD2038



CD 1

1. Fidgety Feet

2. Oh, Baby!

3. Copenhagen

4. Susie

5. I Need Some Pettin’

6. Tiger Rag

7. Sensation

8. Lazy Daddy

9. Tia Juana

10. Big Boy

11. I Didn’t Know

12. Toddlin’ Blues

13. Davenport Blues

14. Idolizing

15. Sunday

16. Proud of a Baby like You

17. I’m Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now

18. My Pretty Girl

19. Look at the World and Smile

20. Trumbology

21. Slow River

22. For No Reason at All in C

23. In My Merry Oldsmobile

24. There’s a Cradle in Caroline

25. In a Mist (Bixology)

CD 2

1. Clementine

2. Wringin’ and Twistin’

3. Krazy Kat

4. Humpty Dumpty

5. There Ain’t No Land like Dixieland to Me

6. Just an Hour of Love

7. I’m Wonderin’ Who

8. (What Are You Waiting for) Mary

9. Lonely Melody

10. There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears

11. Dardanella

12. Mississippi Mud

13. Sugar

14. Lovable

15. Thou Swell

16. My Pet

17. Tain’t So, Honey, Tain’t So

18. Sentimental Baby

19. Futuristic Rhythm

20. I’m in Seventh Heaven

21. Reaching for Someone (and Not Finding Anyone There)

22. Oh Miss Hannah

23. Waiting at the End of the Road

24. I’ll Be a Friend with Pleasure

25. Georgia on My Mind


Various aggregations, including The Wolverine Orchestra, Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra, Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra, and Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, among others. All tracks include Beiderbecke. Complete personnel for each track is listed in the accompanying booklet.

Recording dates and locations vary. All data is provided in the accompanying booklet.

Joining the fairly large number of reissues on CD of the Beiderbecke canon, this is a companion issue to a previous one by Fabulous, titled Bix Beiderbecke 1924-1930 [not 1927 as stated in the booklet] (FABCD 144), the booklet assuring us there is no duplication of tracks on the two issues. Between the pair one would certainly have a good representation of Beiderbecke’s output.

Like many artists who die young—he was only 28—Beiderbecke has attained a certain legendary status, that in part being occasioned by the tantalizing question: what might he have accomplished had he had more time? But what he did manage to accomplish before the ravages of alcoholism, coupled perhaps with pneumonia, terminated his life and career is illustrated here.

The two main components of Beiderbecke’s playing are his tone, often likened to a bell chime, and his ideas, often described as heralds of the jazz to come some two or three decades later. Both qualities are in evidence in this compilation, but most prominently in the tracks where he is accompanied by a small group, such as the Wolverines (some half of the first CD) or his own Rhythm Jugglers or his Gang, and has the room to explore—and be heard—in both soloing and supporting others in the group. There are quite a few tracks here, however, that nicely illustrate his qualities. (One of the best examples of these is Jazz Me Blues, a track that is unfortunately not in this program but is in the other collection, FABCD 144.) Unfortunately the sound quality on some of these early tracks is not of the best, particularly on those numbers recorded acoustically (those pre-1925), but Big Boy (where Beiderbecke takes a piano solo, as well as playing cornet) and, especially, Davenport Blues, his own composition, for two, exemplify on this set the “Bixian” delivery. His considerable piano talent is displayed in the “Tram, Bix, and Eddie” trio’s version of For No Reason at All in C and in his solo rendition of his own composition In a Mist.

In the large groups, Beiderbecke tends to be “buried” in a welter of brass and reeds and, in the Whiteman case (some half of the second CD), strings, only emerging for a “hot” solo chorus or two and then submerging again. Certainly his choruses are worth hearing and for the moment supply interest, but it is an all too brief respite from Whiteman’s “symphonic jazz.” Whiteman’s title of “King of Jazz” was something of a misnomer, especially when compared to that of other “kings” such as Oliver and Keppard, but he staffed his orchestra with some of the best talent around and had them playing tightly scored numbers—not a note out of place, but not much soul. Danceable—but not swinging. He must be given credit, too, for providing much employment for his musicians, and he was very generous to Beiderbecke, keeping him on the payroll long after he was no longer capable of playing in the orchestra.

For those who have little or no Beiderbecke in their collections and for those who are partial to the dance aggregations of the 20’s and early 30’s, this double CD compilation may be of interest, especially since it contains the lagniappe of Beiderbecke on solos. Despite the booklet’s assertion that further attempts to improve the sound could not be made without degrading it, I think the transfers could have been better. Perhaps the budget price will recompense some of these shortcomings

Bert Thompson

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