Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Sat Apr 5 20:21:43 EDT 2008

One of the earliest recordings I've heard of Stardust was with The
Chocolate Dandies (Don Redman, 10-13-28) and it is, indeed, taken at a
quicker dance tempo. I don't think Bix was around and playing much by
the time it was catching on. Hoagy recorded it with his band in
October 31, 1927. Mills Music published it in January 1929. And the
Isham Jones band was the first to slow it down. (The dreamiest slow
version, perhaps, was by Sarah Vaughn from "No Count Sarah). This info
is culled from the Indiana Historical Society collaboration with the
Smithsonian that was issued in 1988: "The Classic Hoagy Carmichael"
with notes by John Edward Hasse. Bix did record with Hoagy's band,
including Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman and Bubber Miley in 1930 (the
session where Venuti infamously sings "Barnacle Bill the Shit Head" in
the band's vocal refrain). The other number recorded that day was
"Rockin' Chair."

I don't think Bix ever recorded "Stardust," though the Wolverines were
the first band to record Carmichael's music, "Riverboat Shuffle." In
that era Louis Armstrong owned the piece as a jazz number. His
recording of it is simply outstanding jazz from his big band period
(1931). Shaw had the most popular and, according to Gunther Schuller
and Martin Williams, the most musically successful of the big dance
band versions. Hoagy made his first vocal version of it in L.A. in
1941 for Decca where he recomposes the melody somewhat and whistles
part of the tune (with Artie Bernstein, bass, and Spike Jones, drums).

Now isn't the melody to "Stardust" inspired by Bix and the bridge
inspired by Louis Armstrong (or  vice versa)? I think Bill Charlap
mentioned that in an interview.

Lazaro Vega
Blue Lake Public Radio

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