Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Musical Interlude: Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra (featuring Eddie Lang & Bix Beiderbecke) - I'm Coming Virginia (1927)



In lieu of any vintage news (which seems to have become rather thin on the ground again over the last few days) here's another song from my Desert Island Discs list "for your listening pleasure!".

And a pleasure this track certainly is, more so, in fact.  Many students of early jazz rightly wax lyrical on the subject of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke and his fantastic musicianship.  There was a very good article by Clive James in the London Times a few years ago that does just that in comparing and contrasting Bix's style to that of Louis Armstrong's, and examines the musical legacy of both men.

I don't intend to go into detail about Bix's tragically short life here, as I could never do it justice in a single blog post, but much of what is said about Bix's playing on I'm Coming Virginia mirrors my own feelings about the song and his performance.  Clive James' assertion that "there are moments when even a silent pause is a perfect note, and always there is a piercing sadness to it" sums up perfectly how striking and complex Bix's solo is.  Words like "transcendental", other-worldly" and "haunting" are well-earned, and I can appreciate where some jazz aficionados are coming from when they say it brings tears to their eyes - because it has done the same to me.  It's one of the only pieces of music where I can close my eyes and not only be taken back in time, but also into the music itself.  When you listen to it, particularly if you haven't heard it in a while, that cornet solo just hits you between the eyes in a way that few other performances can do in my experience. 

1 comment:

  1. Do you remember "The Beiderbecke Affair" about 1985, It had James Bolen in? I remember it being filmed at my old school in Leeds!!!! Thanks for the tune,I'm now sat in a smokey bar, with a G&T in my hand......

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