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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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FRANKIE TRUMBAUER

The Collection

Fabulous by Acrobat
FADCD 2053

 

 

CD1

1. Red Hot – Mound City Blue Blowers

2. Georgia Blues – Arkansas Travellers

3. Flock o’ Blues – Sioux City Six

4. The Prince of Wails – Cotton Pickers

5. Tessie, Stop Teasing Me – Ray Miller & His Orchestra

6. Hush-a-Bye – Jean Goldkette & His Orchestra

7. Hoosier Sweetheart – Jean Goldkette & His Orchestra

8. Blue River – Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

9. Clementine - Jean Goldkette & His Orchestra

10. Wringin’ and Twistin’ – Tram, Bix & Lang

11. Baltimore – Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

12. There Ain’t No Land Like Dixieland – Broadway Bellhops

13. Changes – Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

14. Ol’ Man River – Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

15. Mississippi Mud - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

16. From Monday On – Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

17. Our Bungalow of Dreams - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

18. Borneo - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

19. I’d Rather Cry Over You – Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

20. Bless You, Sister - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

21. High on a Hill-top - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

22. Futuristic Rhythm - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

23. I Like That - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

24. What a Day - Mason Dixon Orchestra

CD2

1. Shivery Stomp - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

2. When You’re Counting the Stars Alone – Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra

3. Manhattan Rag - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

4. Runnin’ Ragged – Joe Venuti’s Blue Four

5. Happy Feet - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

6. Deep Harlem - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

7. Hittin’ the Bottle - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

8. Bye Bye Blues - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

9. Georgia on My Mind - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

10. Crazy Quilt - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

11. Sizzlin’ One-Step Medley - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

12. Some of These Days – Bing Crosby acc. by Lennie Hayton’s Orchestra

13. Business in Q - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

14. Break It Down - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

15. Long about Midnight - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

16. Troubled - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

17. I’se a Muggin’ Part 1 – The Three Ts

18. Ain’t Misbehavin’ - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

19. Diga Diga Doo - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

20. Taboo - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

21. No Retard (China Boy) - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

22. Walkin’ the Dog - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra

23. You Took Advantage of Me - Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra


Who was the most prominent musician on the classic 1927 recording of Singin’ the Blues? Naturally you might answer Bix Beiderbecke, although you might also choose guitarist Eddie Lang. Yet the tune’s theme for the first chorus was improvised by Frankie Trumbauer, playing the C-melody saxophone. His smooth, serpentine solo led into a well-known solo by Bix Beiderbecke, who dealt out his clean, bright notes in wondrous fashion.

In fact Trumbauer was for a long time in the shadow of Bix Beiderbecke, whose talent was undoubtedly deeper, and with whom Frankie often performed. Yet this double CD gives us a chance to assess Trumbauer through a generous selection of recordings from 1924 to 1946. The earliest items still show the primitive features of early jazz, as musicians struggled to decide what jazz really was. After all, the first recordings here date from only seven years after the Original Dixieland Jazz Band burst on the scene and almost immediately established what jazz might be: a heavily syncopated music with a 2/4 feel. Having been brought up with this style, Trumbauer tended to play with that 2/4 feeling, even though his smoothness strongly influenced Lester Young. Even a fluent solo like the one he contributes to Ol’ Man River still seems rather four-square, which is somehow mingled with a legato effect. This fluid sense is more noticeable in Wringin’ and Twistin’, perhaps because Trumbauer is playing in the airy atmosphere of a trio, completed by Bix and Eddie Lang. Tram (an early nickname for Trumbauer which stuck) also has an airy feel to his solo in CD2 on When You’re Counting the Stars Alone.

Frankie often adds fairly undistinguished vocals to tracks, keeping the music in vaudeville style which prevents the music from swinging. Besides, these were still the days when the bass was supplied by a bass sax or tuba instead of a string bass, which was one element that let the music loose for swing. Even as late as the 1930 recording of Bye Bye Blues (by Tram’s own Bix-less band), the rhythm tends to be stodgy. However, Georgia on My Mind has a freer mood, with a fine Trumbauer solo. On Business in Q, Tram uses a lot of flutters and spirals up and down the scale, giving the appearance of fluidity but actually still somewhat ungraceful. The sleeve-notes admit that, in the early 1930s, “Frankie apparently had difficulty coming to terms with the changing musical demands of the nascent swing era”. Perhaps Tram needed the stimulus of having Bix alongside him in the studio. Beiderbecke had sadly died in 1931.

One has to wonder if Frankie had been left behind by changes in musical tastes, yet he continued to produce commendable work. For instance, his solo in Walkin’ the Dog (1940) is pleasantly fluent, although the tone is rather old-fashioned compared with Lester Young’s more laid-back style. His solo on the same year’s No Retard (a variant of China Boy) is a good example of his grandstanding vein, and the whole band swings with animation.

To fully appreciate Trumbauer’s contribution to jazz, you need to include such jewels as Singin’ the Blues, Trumbology and Riverboat Shuffle. These are understandably omitted from this collection because they can be found on collections of Bix Beiderbecke’s work. Taken together with the recordings in this compilation, they make a strong case for Tram’s importance in the development of jazz.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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