You are Just A Vision
I’d Climb The Highest Mountain
That’s The Good Old Sunny South
No One Knows What It’s All About
Mean To Me
Andy Schumm (cornet): Kristoffer Kompen (trombone): Mauro Porro (clarinet, alto saxophone): David Boeddinghaus (piano): Frans Sjöström (bass saxophone):
Josh Duffee (drums)
Recorded November 2014, The Customs House, South Shields [56:45]
This is a clever conceit. The programming principle is driven by pieces that Bix Beiderbecke played but never recorded. The album was made as part of
Lake’s Vintage Recording Project and features stylists well versed in the milieu of the Wolverines, Rhythm Jugglers and Jean Goldkette et al. And the
result is a pleasing mix of tunes, a number of them pretty obscure and some associated with bands on whose periphery Bix moved.
The band is a mixed European-American one, and many of the instrumentalists are familiar from other Lake CDs. I suppose the greatest burden inevitably has
to fall on Andy Schumm but he acquits himself with great purity of tone and an enviably crisp lead. It seems odd, now, that Bix never recorded the Wolverine Blues but here’s a memento of what it might have sounded like. Schumm has absorbed the Bixian knack of rising gleaming from the ensemble
to deliver a tight bejewelled solo, something he illustrates on Driftwood whereas on Lazy River, expertly arranged by the ever-excellent
Frans Sjöström, the clarinet of Mauro Porro is strongly to the fore. This is all the more appropriate as Hoagy Carmichael wrote it in collaboration with
clarinettist Sidney Arodin.
Trombonist Kristoffer Kompen shows sure awareness of Bill Rank’s style, whether in ensembles or solo, and he’s especially felicitous in this respect in You are Just A Vision where Schumm’s Bixian credentials come packaged with a bristling (but commendably clear-toned) solo. Sjöström provides –
whether in ensemble or solo – Rolliniesque reminders. I’d Climb The Highest Mountain was apparently one of Bix’s favourite tunes and one can tell
that its refined lyricism must have appealed. The band’s ‘romp track’ meanwhile – a jam piece - is O Katharnina! where Josh Duffee is busy at the
drum kit and David Boeddinghaus makes a warm presence felt at the piano stool – he’s excellent throughout, in fact, and in his few solo spots.
The main impression in this set though is hearing unusual pieces, such as Hawaiian Butterfly, played in the style of Bix and his bands, and
played, more to the point, by first class instrumentalists. The results are never stale because the arrangements are exciting and apt. With a first class
recorded sound and entertaining notes, this slice of what-might-have-been takes on a life of its own.