jeudi 10 mars 2011

Happy Bix Beiderbecke's Birthday!

There are certain mileposts that point to spring. The first one is the Super Bowl, which marks the end of the football season. The second is the day in mid-February when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. And the final milepost on the way to spring is Bix Beiderbecke's birthday.


I'm more of a fan of the Bix/Frankie Trumbauer cuts, but this rare 1928 newsreel clip of Bix with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (Bix can be seen about 1:10 in) is worth a look. Says Harry Oakley, who posted it (and disabled embedding):

It turns out that Bix' embouchure was as unorthodox as his valve technique and that he played with puffed cheeks - something which was not known before the discovery of this footage. Although it has been claimed that Bix misses notes and/or plays some notes without puffed cheeks, it is now clear that in fact he is written into the score for only a few notes of the passage and that he deliberately skips notes. Every note he does play is with puffed cheeks.

More about Bix here.

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