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Bix Beiderbecke: The Bix Beiderbecke Collection [Hallmark]

Album Notes

One might think that since there are so many Bix Beiderbecke albums available, the man must have recorded prodigiously. He did not; his career was tragically short and his sessionography surprisingly small. All of the tracks here have been repackaged innumerable times since originally issued -- first on LP and now compact disc. Like many, if not most Beiderbecke samplers, this one concentrates on his small-group recordings with saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer circa 1927 (there are no personnel listings, but the discographical information is readily available elsewhere). Classics here include "I'm Comin', Virginia," "At the Jazz Band Ball," "Trumbology," and the quintessential Beiderbecke performance, "Singin' the Blues." The mastering of this budget-priced disc is not the greatest, but then the original recorded sound quality was never very good to begin with. What's important is the music; the primitive technology can't hide the lyrical brilliance of Beiderbecke, whose playing sounds amazingly fresh almost 80 years after the fact. Also of note is Trumbauer's contribution; while the intemperate Beiderbecke earned a cult following, the more methodical Tram was an excellent musician in his own right and one of the first great jazz saxophonists. The incisive logic and subtle musicality expressed here transcend questions of style or genre. Classic music that's beautifully played. ~ Chris Kelsey


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