[JPL] Stardust - Sudhalter/LaRocca quote

Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Sun Apr 6 20:14:56 EDT 2008

There is some of that timeline comparison in the notes to Bix's Mosaic
box, which is used to point up how exploratory some of Bix's records
were when general perceptions run to "Weather Bird" or the opening
cadenza on "West End Blues" as examples of the era's tecnical,
expansive developments in music. Personally, I thought Louis Armstrong
a more daring, expressive and risk taking improvisor than Bix, and
that Armstrong had more humor in his playing, too. Yet Bix's sound,
his melodic construction and the classic balance of his solos is
undeniably attractive. The harmonic "looking ahead" of "Krazy Kats" is
less interesting to me than how Bud Freeman, Jimmy Dorsey and Lester
Young all responded to Tram's sound, approach and technique, or how
Bix's influence combined with Armstrong's in Bunny Berigan or Bobby
Hacket among many, many others, gave voice to the next evolution in
jazz trumpet. Bix's influence on bebop seems very, very tangential. In
fact, and he'll kill me for mentioning this, but when Bill McFarlin
was on the air here at Blue Lake 27 years ago he was interviewing
Dizzy and in talking about possible early influences he mentioned Bix,
to which Dizzy replied, to pararphrase, "it wasn't no white boy." One
of Bix's greatest champions in traditional jazz circles for decades,
Tom Pletcher, lived in the vicinity of Blue Lake at the time and
certainly had the ear of the hosts. So I can't fault a young Bill for
bringing that up. Today it just points up how much of a reach it is to
say the advanced chord progressions of some of Bix's music with Tram
"influenced" later generations of jazz musicians. I've tended to find
more general aspects of their music -- sound, line, rhythm -- as
having had a greater impact and that in a general sense those guys are
the great grand father's of "cool" jazz, which itself is a meaningless
term unless you just consider it from the point in sound where
classical music (European) ideals of tone production and compositional
balance superseed the vocal like inflections and rude sounds, to say
nothing of inexact forms before W.C. Handy,  of more blues influenced
instrumental music

Lazaro Vega
Blue Lake Public Radio

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