“I Like To Riff” – King Cole Trio (1941)

Decca; Hollywood, July 16, 1941: Nat “King” Cole-p/Oscar Moore-g/Wesley Prince-sb.

“I like to riff–‘t takes your troubles off your mind.”

KING COLE TRIO

Photo source.

Even though it’s not listed in the recording credits, if you listen closely, you can hear the “swishing” and tapping of high hat cymbols underneath the rhythm. Wish I knew who was sitting in on the session.

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“Sweet Sue” – Bix’s cornet solo only (1928)

Photo link.

This photo was taken by a Bix fan at the “Jazzens Museum” in Sweden. But after that fan posted the photo and began an engaging and lengthy online forum discussion–as seen in the link–about this particular cornet, the consensus is that it is more than likely not a cornet that Bix owned and played.

I guess that’s what happens when one just randomly grabs photos from the internet and uses them before researching the origin or authenticity. Lesson learned. It’s too late to remake the video now so enjoy .38 seconds of Bix’s solo which may or may not have been played on the above pictured cornet.

“It’s Been So Long” – Edmond Hall’s Swingtet (1944)

Blue Note; New York, May 5, 1944: Benny Morton-tb/Edmond Hall-cl/Harry Carney-bar/Don Frye-p/Everett Barksdale-g/Alvin Raglin-b/Sidney Catlett-d.

A something in a summer‘s noon – A depth – an Azure – a perfume – Transcending ecstasy. — Emily Dickinson

From the poem: A Something In A Summer’s Day.

It’s not quite summer yet, but this song, this poem and the promising weather here in Seattle today seem to just fit together nicely.

“Wild Cat Blues” – Clarence Williams’ Blue Five (1923)

Okeh; New York, July 30, 1923: Thomas Morris-c/John Mayfield-tb/Sidney Bechet-ss/Clarence Williams-p/Buddy Christian-bj.

 

Sidney_Bechet,_Freddie_Moore,_Lloyd_Phillips_(Gottlieb_00521)

Sidney Bechet; New York, 1947: Photo source.

Sidney Bechet–the man behind that visceral, growling, vibrato sound of the soprano sax.

bechet-french-movies-008

Sidney Bechet; 1939: Photo/film clip from the Guardian.

 

 

” A Monday Date” – Earl Hines solo (1928)

Q.R.S.; Long Island City, December 8, 1928: piano solo.

I don’t know anything specific about the Q.R.S record label but according to them, their “PRODUCTS are Better.”

I agree, that if you have Earl Hines on your label, your product is better!

Link to a 10 minute YouTube video clip with Earl Hines explaining his influences and demonstrating his signature “trumpet style” here. I think the clip’s been pulled from an episode of “Jazz Casual.” If you enjoy the piano style of Earl Hines, it’s definitely worth watching and hearing him speak about early jazz and his development.

“The All Night Record Man” – Charlie Barnet And His Orchestra (1939)

Bluebird; New York, July 17, 1939: Charlie Barnet-ss-as-ts-dir/J. Owens-B. Burnet-B. May-t/B. Hall-D. Ruppersberg-B. Robertson-tb/K. Bloom-G. Kinsey-as/D. McCook-J. Lamare-ts/B. Miller-p/B. Etri-g/P. Stevens-b/R. Michaels-d/Charlie Barnet-Judy Ellington-v.

The prefix “meta” comes from Ancient Greek, meaning “in the middle” or, rather, transcending or encompassing. Therefore, the term “metapoem” describes a poem that is about poetry itself. A metapoem is a literary technique and has a certain effect upon the reader.

But now that I’m writing this, I can’t recall from my English major if the literary technique needs to be blatant and clear or if it can be covert and hidden, as in the poem “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich.

In the poem, the shipwreck represents the current state of poetry, all of its history leading up to the wreck, the diver as the modern poet, and the responsibility of that poet to find new ways of expressing the modern, while also at the same time incorporating and preserving what has come before: “There is a ladder. The ladder is always there … We know what it is for, we who have used it.”

Either way, here’s a jazz side with no hidden meaning and one that features the singing attempt of no other than Charlie Barnet himself. And as an extra bonus, it’s a jazz side which is about the broadcasting and the listening of jazz, so I guess it counts as a type of jazz “metasong.”

Readers may remember the 1974 top-40 rock song single “Clap for the Wolfman” by the Canadian band The Guess Who, with their tribute to the influential disc jockey, Wolfman Jack–also a type of metasong.

“Louisiana” – Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra w/Bix (1928)

Victor; New York, April 23, 1928: Paul Whiteman-dir/Henry Busse-Charlie Margulis-Eddie Pinter-t/Bix Beiderbecke-c/Jack Fulton-tb-v/Boyce Cullen-Wilbur Hall-Bill Rank-tb/Izzy Friedman-cl-as-ts/Rube Crozier-cl-ss-as-bsn/Chester Hazlett-cl-bcl-ss-as/Frank Trumbauer-Cm-ss/Charles Strickfaden-cl-as-ts-bar/Red Mayer-cl-ts/Kurt Dieterle-Mischa Russell-Mario Perry-Matt Malneck-John Bowman-vn/Charles Gaylord-vn-v/Roy Bargy-Lennie Hayton-p/Mike Pingitore-bj/Min Leibrook-bb-bsx/Mike Trafficante-b/Harold McDonald-d/Bill Challis-d.

Bing Crosby-Jack Fulton-Charles Gaylord-Austin Young-vocals.

Arranged by Bill Challis. Worked into shape by Paul Whiteman.

I’ve never been to Louisiana and maybe the song is really about a girl anyway. But even after 50 listenings or so, I still find myself getting lost in the nuances and details of the arrangement.

Everyone in Whiteman’s band had to play their part straight except for Bix. Paul Whiteman would give him eight bars or so and let him be creative. Bix couldn’t read or write music and even found it difficult playing the same cornet riff twice with the same emotion and tambour

Many of the members in the orchestra, especially the established ones, resented Whiteman’s “favoritism” in allowing the young Bix such creative freedom and as a result, Bix never really was able to fit in fully with the other members of the ensemble.

This should have marked the apex of his career, as there was no greater honor at the time than to be asked to join Paul Whiteman’s orchestra.

But perhaps joining Whiteman’s orchestra, and confronting all of the challenges and demands that came with a touring, entertaining and professional organization, proved detrimental to his psychological and physical health–as seen with his decline into his alcoholism, of which he ultimately died from, three years later. Rejection and isolation seem to be a recurring themes in the story of Bix.