Recent listening, current

Saturday, February 2, 2013

23. Bix Beiderbecke / Felix the Cat (1993)

CD compilations from 78s are a gamble because the audio can be very poor and the program might omit the artist's most important work. The Columbia remasters and similar offerings from other big labels are safe, but if you just want a few CDs then choosing the right one in a chronological, multidisc series can be difficult. This import on a single disc is unavailable, but I've seen it inexpensively in a few shops, probably because people prefer the complete Columbia set. The audio quality is surprisingly good. It is a substantial 24 tracks, and presents good selections from all the phases of Bix's career. Included are Bix's lovely piano original "In a Mist" as well as the small group side with Eddie Lang "Wringin' and Twistin'." You also get big band work with the Wolverines, Jean Goldkette, Frankie Trumbauer, Paul Whiteman, and his last sides with friend Hoagy Carmicheael. The tone and style of Bix's open horn are immediately recognizable and stand head and shoulders above other players, even today. If I had to pick a single Bix compilation out of the multitude, this would probably be the one. 

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