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September 01, 2008

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Kent

"Sorry" is far and away the best that Bix ever did, in my opinion, but when I look at all the tracks in the Hot Fives and Sevens collection, most of the memorable takes are from 1928. Perhaps Louis matured a year later than Bix.

I think of Bix as Fred Astaire. I think of Louis as Gene Kelly. Don't make me choose.

Albert Haim

Here is what I wrote about Louis and Bix in 2005 in the Bixography forum.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1205933183

There is no question in my mind that the two most important trumpet/cornet players of the 1920s were Bix and Louis. Although their childhoods were totally different, their early musical careers as professionals had some common features.

They both were in or around Chicago in the early 1920s. Their early recordings (1923 for Louis with King Oliver, 1924 for Bix with the Wolverines) both for Gennett, were pure jazz recordings (contrary to what Rudi Blesh writes about the Wolverines). One difference, of course, Bix was the driving force behind the Wolverines, whereas Louis did not have quite as predominant a role in the King Oliver band.

In 1924, they both left a jazz band to join a dance band, Bix went with Jean Goldkette, Louis with Fletcher Henderson. The King Oliver band and the Wolverines were small bands, about 7-8 musicians each, whereas the Goldkettte and Henderson bands were considerably larger, about a dozen or more musicians. The King Oliver band and the Wolverines played "head" arrangements, whereas the Henderson and Goldkette bands used formal arrangements. [A caveat: the Wolverines and the King Oliver band were also dance bands.]

A huge difference between Bix and Louis: Louis was very successful with the Henderson band, whereas Bix's first experience with Goldkette turned out to be a failure. They both had their first recordings under their own names in 1925.

Between 1925 and 1929 their careers diverged, but in the late 1920s and 1930-1931 both were in New York. Of course, Bix died a premature death at age 28, poor and unknown, whereas Louis lived to he ripe age of 71, well-known and loved throughout the world.

All reports tell us that Bix and Louis respected each other, and at least on one occasion, they participated in a jam session. Louis made several statements about Bix (some can be heard directly in Louis' own voice in John Grover’s M.S thesis, available in the Bixography website.) There is only one comment about Louis from Bix. Sudhalter and Evans write about a conversation between Bix and Dick Turner in 1931 in which Bix is quoted to have said, “Hell, there are only two musicians I’d go across the street to hear now. That’s Louis and LaRocca.”

Finally, I will address the question of influences. Red Nichols and Jimmy McPartland, just to give two examples, were influenced by Bix. We can hear Bix’s characteristic sound in several of Red’s and Jimmy's recordings. Using the word influence in this sense, it is clear to me that Bix and Louis did not influence each other. I don’t hear Louis’ sound in Bix’s recordings, and vice versa (with the possible exception of the Southern Serenaders 1925 recording of “Alone At Last”). I would assert that Bix and Louis inspired each other, stimulated each other, but I would not use the word influence to describe their interactions.

Louis and Bix travelled via parallel paths in the landscape of jazz, each developing a unique style. Conventional wisdom provides various characterizations of the differences between Louis and Bix: extrovert versus introvert; spectacular versus subdued, hot versus pensive; Louis made use of his extraordinary technical virtuosity and histrionics to convey his musical messages; Bix used the middle range of his horn and “talked” or “whispered” to his listener to communicate his emotions. When Bix and Louis convey sadness or melancholy, they do it in totally different manners: Louis in the sense of “what did I do to be so black and blue;” Bix as a manifestation of an inner, wistful sensibility.

Their best works –and the two most important jazz recordings of the 1920s- “West End Blues” and “Singin’ the Blues” by Louis and Bix, respectively- show clearly two distinct styles, two divergent personalities each unique and not influenced by the other. Bix’s masterpiece is a lyrical ballad, permeated by his European sensibility; Louis’ monumental work, although not a blues composition, has a feeling of the blues. Bix communicates in a subtle, thoughtful manner; Louis makes use of his spectacular technical skills.

In summary, my opinion is that Bix and Louis respected each other, probably stimulated each other –it couldn’t be otherwise: two giants producing distinct musical contributions were bound to inspire each other- but did not directly influence each other.

Let me add some comments about Bix's music, not a comparison with Louis.

On the question of Bix's melancholy: I find most of Bix's cornet music rather bittersweet, sometimes sad, occasionally buoyant. Sudhalter refers to it as "emotionally layered."

Bix had a variety of musical utterances, buoyant and pensive, confident and vulnerable, bright and dark, etc. Note that I say “and” not “or.” Even in his darker moments, there was an uplifting quality to Bix’s playing. Even in his more effervescent moments, there was an introspective character in Bix’s music. Common to all of Bix’s work there is a complexity, a special “style” that leads to my assertion that it was a characteristic of Bix’s playing, a fingerprint/DNA marker if you like, unique to him and very easily identifiable. No, there weren’t several Bixes that differ from each other, so much so that he became unrecognizable: there was only one Bix, with a rich variety of expressions, a multidimensional palette. To borrow Randy Sandke’s felicitous phrase, there were unexpected turns, but they were inevitable in the context of Bix’s overall conceptions.

Bix was a unique musician who left a total, integrated body of work that allows all listeners to easily identify him in all kinds of very different contexts: the huge, semi-symphonic Whiteman, the hot dance Goldkette, the small jazz Gang, the creator of ballads with Trumbauer, the chamber style with the Chicago Loopers, the originator of solos bursting forth like musical lightning in ordinary pop songs, etc. etc.

Bix's music is like his photos and his playing: never the same twice!

Albert Haim
http://bixbeiderbecke.com

Hans Eekhoff

It's not easy to get a word in sideways after such a long contribution - especially since it has been posted twice.
Still, I'd like to say that trying to establish who is the greater musician - Bix or Louis, is impossible and indeed quite nonsensical. Alas the comparison is often made, frequently supported by racial arguments. Nowadays it seems to be politically incorrect not to favour Louis.
I'm just damn glad that they were both around.
Both men had a great influence on other musicians; Louis more so than Bix, simply because he lived longer.
However, although Bix definitely influenced Jimmy McPartland (and Jimmy was the first to admit it) I do not hear any influence of Bix on Red Nichols. Of the hundreds of Nichols records that I have there is not one on which Red sounds even remotely like Bix - with the exception of a few sides that Red recorded with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in early 1927. But Bix also sounds very much like Red on a few records, notable "There'll Come A Time" by the Trumbauer band. I am convinced that these rare similarities are purely coincidental.
No, Red Nichols had a far better technique than Bix but lacked his tone and poetry. They were totally different musicians who thought along very different lines.
I agree that there was "only one Bix" but all the same there was only one Louis and only one Red.
However, in my opinion, good jazz always contains an element of "pain". That element is in both Louis' and Bix' playing but, much as I love his playing too, far less in Red's.
Finally I would like to point out that the previous writer is wrong when he writes that West End Blues is "not a blues composition" because it is. Actually it is a pure example of a 12-bar Blues.

Albert Haim

In the previous comment, the writer states, "I do not hear any influence of Bix on Red Nichols. Of the hundreds of Nichols records that I have there is not one on which Red sounds even remotely like Bix - with the exception of a few sides that Red recorded with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in early 1927. But Bix also sounds very much like Red on a few records, notable "There'll Come A Time" by the Trumbauer band. I am convinced that these rare similarities are purely coincidental."

I asserted that Red Nichols was influenced by Bix. I would like to quote statements by two jazz scholars who share my opinion about the influence of Bix on Red Nichols.

From "Early Jazz, Its Roots and Musical Development," by Gunther Schuller, "Bix radiated an enormous influence on a large circle of white musicians. The most important of these were the Austin High School Gang of Chicago, with among others Jimmy McPartland (cornet), Bud Freeman (tenor saxophone), Frank Teschemacher (clarinet), Eddie Condon (banjo), Gene Krupa (drums), and the entire circle of Red Nichols, the Dorsey brothers, Phil Napoleon, and Miff Mole."

From "Jazz Masters of the Twenties" by Richard Hadlock, "Finally there is the less important matter of direct stylistic influence. It has been said that in the late twenties, most trumpet players sounded like either Bix or Armstrong. Many like Bill Davison, went through a Beiderbecke and an Armstrong phase before arriving at their own styles. Some tried to combine both from the start. The obvious examples of direct Bix leanings are Red Nichols, Jimmy McPartland, Andy Secrest (who replaced Bix in Whiteman's band) Doc Evans, and Bobby Hackett (with much Armstrong added).

And let us not forget that Red Nichols played note for note Bix’s solo from the Wolverines “Jazz Me Blues” (Gennett 5408) in George Olsen’s recording of “You’ll Never Get to Heaven With Those Eyes” (Victor 19405).

Hans Eekhoff

Well, I don't agree with Schuller's and Hadlock's (both jazz critics - not musicians) writings on this subject, and neither does just about everybody else with a discerning ear. But it could be different for people who have a-musical hearing and claim that "West End Blues" is not a "blues composition". To say that Phil Napoleon and Miff Mole were influenced by Bix is even more absurd - Napoleon and Mole were well established musicians who had already made loads of records even before Bix joined the Wolverines. If anything, Napoleon influenced Bix!
That Nichols once played a solo on a record which Bix used earlier on another record is no argument to support the theory that Red was influenced by Bix's style (which Red himself also denied).
Again, apart from the coincidental instance of his recordings with Whiteman, Red never sounded one bit like Bix. If one doesn't hear that for himself, why immediately echo those who claim it? Why not those who denie it?

Albert Haim

Another Example of Red Copying Bix.

The May 4, 1925 recording of "Tiger Rag" by the California Ramblers has a cornet solo that is an almost note for note copy of the solo by Bix in the earlier recording of the tune by the Wolverines. Frank Cush and Red Nichols were present in the California Ramblers session. As stated by Nick Dellow in the liners for the CD set "The Influence of Bix Beiderbecke" (Jass Records, JRC 1001), it is likely that the soloist is Red Nichols. Another example of the influence of Bix on Red.

The Influence of Bix on Musicians

The argument that Miff Mole was a well "established musician who had already made loads of records even before Bix joined the Wolverines" and therefore could not have been influenced by Bix is ludicrous. Musicians evolve, change, learn. The Miff Mole of 1922 is not the same as the Miff Mole of 1925 and later years. Richard Suddhalter writes in "Lost Chords," "His [Mole's] chorus on "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," with the Red Heads embodies all the virtues, including an almost Bix-like sense of structure."

Finally, I should point out that, in contradiction with what has been written above, Gunther Schuller and Richard Hadlock are both jazz critics and musicians.

Gunther Schuller. From http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?TabId=2419&State_2872=2&ComposerId_2872=1400

“The composer Gunther Schuller is, famously, a man of many musical pursuits. He began his professional life as a horn player in both the jazz and classical worlds, working as readily with Miles Davis and Gil Evans as with Toscanini; he was principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony from age sixteen and later of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra until 1959.

In the 1950s he began a conducting career focusing largely on contemporary music, and thereafter conducted most of the major orchestras of the world in a wide range of works, including his own. He was central in precipitating a new stylistic marriage between progressive factions of jazz and classical, coining the term "Third Stream" and collaborating in the development of the style with John Lewis, the Modem Jazz Quartet, and others.”

Richard Hadlock. From http://www.kcsm.org/jazz91/announcer_hadlock.php
“While tip-toeing through college in Philadelphia, Richard received some instruction on soprano sax from Sidney Bechet. Upon graduation, he settled in New York City and began long-term clarinet studies with ace reedman Garvin Bushell. His last formal teacher, in San Francisco, was Lee Konitz.
Richard has enjoyed playing with many outstanding musicians, in a wide spectrum of styles. His partners include New Orleans pioneers Kid Ory, Pops Foster and Danny Barker, notable Chicagoans, Muggsy Spanier, Joe Sullivan and Wild Bill Davidson, singers Barbara Dane, Maxine Sullivan and Kim Nalley, pianists Ralph Sutton, Norma Teagarden, Butch Thompson, Larry Vuckovich, and Herbie Nichols. He has worked and/or recorded with Howard Alden, Grover Mitchell, Marty Grosz, Ben Goldberg, Dan Barrett, John Schott, Milt Hinton, Becky Kilgore, Dave Frishberg, Turk Murphy and the Hot Club of San Francisco, among many others.”

Based on their prestigious credentials as musicians/writers/jazz historians, it seems to me to be unjustified arrogance to dismiss Schuller’s and Hadlock’s comments about the influence of Bix on other musicians, including Red Nichols.

Albert Haim

Sudhalter on Bix's Influence.

Vol 5 of the CD set "Bix Restored" is titled "Newly Discovered Takes and the Beiderbecke Influence."

Richard Sudhalter writes in the liners, "This collection attempts to show how widely Bix's way of treating his material spread among those players who were active during and shortly after his lifetime."

With regard to Red Nichols, Sudhalter writes, "Perhaps the best known player of the 1920s to follow Bix's lead was Ernest Loring "Red" Nichols ... Nichols' version of Bix's style was less emotional, and rhythmically far less varied ... On "Indiana" he has obviously worked out a Bix-like solo in advance and delivers it with spirit ..."

I will point out that Richard Sudhalter is, as are Gunther Schuller and Richard Hadlock, a musician/jazz historian.

janwouteralt

I think copying and influencing are two different things.
For instance, Bobby Hackett is known to be infuenced by Bix but had in the fourties some hesitations to play next to Louis on stage, because he feared people would hear what he had 'borrowed' from Louis.

Even musicians who the trained listener would call 'original' might have taken some features from another musician. Those features probably can be given or limited by the own skills (a high blower will probably use high note features from Louis to create his own style, a brassplayer with a less embouchure probably will use other features, like timing of harmonic ideas).

Influencing is also picking up ideas, musical and/or technical. When Bix was a coming man after the Wolverines recordings, it is possible that Red picked up some features from Bix to use in his own system of tone, impovisation etc.

As a musician I hear more differences, than likeness between Red and Bix so I agree with Hans Eekhoff that I don't think Red was copying Bix. Perhaps it was more the fashion, a way of playing of that time, set by Bix with his Wolverines recordings.

I think the difference between Bix and Red is that Red was a skilled cornetplayer and a fast reader. Bix however was a self taught natural. Different features with different qualities. I therfore agree with Hans Eekhoff that you can't tell who is 'better', only what you prefer.

I prefer both for different reasons.

Hans Eekhoff

Jan Wouter - thanks for this but I warn you, don't get into a discussion with Albert Haim. As you can read from the above comments it is a waste of energy. The man thinks he knows about jazz when in fact he is completely and utterly a-musical and tone-deaf. Albert Haim is nothing but a retired small time chemistry teacher at an American high school and hasn't a clue about music, especially not about Jazz and those who perform it. He has just declared "West End Blues" "not a blues composition". Although that alone eliminates him from serious consideration, he still presents himself as the world expert on Bix Beiderbecke. In the above posting he supports his views with the fact that Nichols, on one or two recordings, plays, note-for-note a Bix solo. Haim's conclusion is that Bix influenced Nichols. He can't understand that many musicians find it challenging to play like a collegue (or even idol) from time to time - and indeed Bix clearly imitates Red on "There'll Come A Time". However, Jan Wouter, DO NOT DARE to state that Red ever influenced Bix (although this is absolutely true) because you will get Haim on your back; which can be very unpleasant indeed. Albert Haim (who also has the nerve to say that Schuller and Hadlock agree with HIM, rather than the other way around) is completely unoriginal. He bases his arguments NOT on his own perception but on the opinion of others - at least SOME others whom, for unknown reasons, he wishes to echo. In this case the (in jazz circles highly controversial) Gunther Schuller and the equally non-musical Richard Hadlock (who even states the absurd opinion that Bix influenced Phil Napoleon and Miff Mole. What a load of rubbish; Bix went to see the Ray Miller band to see Miff and completely idolized him. He got Miff and Tram so far to include him on a Gennett recording but had to remain in the background), and Richard Sudhalter who has become Haim's idol but who wrote a book about Bix in the 1970's which was based on somebody else's research and is otherwise dreadfully sentimental and off the mark. Phil Napoleon influenced the young rookie Bix - there is no question about it! And again; what counts is this: In good jazz there is always an element of "pain". Louis had it, Bix had it. Red, much as I like and admire him, did not. But he was the most active white cornetist in the 1920's. He didn't need to emulate Bix. Haim will never understand that. No doubt there will be another one of his scientific postings in which he tries to prove his points. Let's leave him. We'll live longer than he and we'll put the record straight.

Albert Haim

I am not going to waste any more time with the stream of consciousness and irrational utterances of Eekhoff. This frustrated, sick individual has serious problems and should seek counseling.

As usual Eekhoff gets his facts wrong. Eekhoff asserts that "Albert Haim is nothing but a retired small time chemistry teacher at an American high school." Wrong.

I am a retired professor (currently Emeritus) from a high-caliber Research University, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY.

I have published over 100 research articles in several peer-reviewed, prestigious, international journals.

For 12 years, I was a scientific editor of the American Chemical Society journal "Inorganic Chemistry," the most important journal of Inorganic Chemistry in the world.

I have received the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

I have presented invited plenary lectures and advanced courses in international meetings and universities throughout the world, England, Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, and in several Universities across the US.

Eekhoff is mentally and emotionally incapable of facing a rational discussion based on facts, and thus resorts to ad hominem attacks. He can continue such attacks, they don't bother me in the least.


Albert Haim

Hans Eekhoff

Albert Haim may be an above average chemistry teacher (at least he says so himself) - he knows nothing about jazz, although he has, unfortunately, made it his retirement hobby.
The mere fact that he claims that "West End Blues" is "not a blues composition" but only "has a feeling of the blues" already eliminates him as a serious discussion partner. However, he has not gone into this in his previous postings because he knows that he has, again, said something stupid. No, he chooses to insult me ("sick", "mentally and emotionally incapable" etc.) He clearly feels cornered.
And so he should be. Albert Haim is a fraud and a charlatan who has no musical knowledge and understanding whatsoever. Everything he has written or said so far on the subjects of Bix and jazz is second hand - and he chooses his sources very carefully; only those that correspond with his views. Everything (and everybody) else is rejected.
But as I said before - time is on our side. There is a large group of good-willing people who will set the record straight when the moment is there.

Sergio Calvé

Albert Haim’s impeccable curriculum on Chemistry is something absolutely irrelevant in a site like this, and does not prove his (inexistent) knowledge on music and jazz musicians at all, in order to face a serious discussion. His comments here, there and everywhere speak for themselves. The sentence: “I don’t agree, but that’s your opinion and I respect it” is not part of his vocabulary. A minimal musical knowledge (“West End Blues” IS a blues) and tolerance are indispensable in any constructive discussion. Hans Eekhoff sustained his remarks on Bix and Red with known facts, Haim gives us his academic curriculum… Poor Bix!
As to the main point, both Bix and Louis were the best in their fields. The question should be: “Do you PREFER Bix or Louis? Or maybe both?”.

Albert Haim

The tactic employed by Eekhoff is so obvious – and so old and worn out- that it is risible. Eekhoff feels overpowered by rational arguments and documented evidence; thus, all he can do now is make a desperate attempt to argue his non-existent case by launching further ad hominem attacks against me and two distinguished musicians/historians.

Richard M. Sudhalter is accused of having written “a book about Bix in the 1970's which was based on somebody else's research and is otherwise dreadfully sentimental and off the mark.” Although facts are of no importance to Eekhoff, I will mention that the book in question was nominated for a National Book Award, and that Richard Sudhalter has been the recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Citation for Excellence (2002) and the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Timothy White Award (2003).

Anyone who disagrees with Eekhoff is treated with contempt. Richard Hadlock, a distinguished musician/historian whose book “Jazz Masters of the Twenties” has received universal critical acclaim, is dismissed as the “equally non-musical Richard Hadlock (who even states the absurd opinion that Bix influenced Phil Napoleon and Miff Mole. What a load of rubbish.”

As for me, Eekhoff claims that “he [Haim] is completely and utterly a-musical and tone-deaf.” and “Albert Haim is a fraud and a charlatan who has no musical knowledge and understanding whatsoever.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Eekhoff has been arguing vigorously that the second soloist in Ray Miller’s recording of “Cradle of Love” is Bix Beiderbecke. With perhaps one exception, all serious students (distinguished musicians as well as Bix scholars) of Bix’s music strongly disagree. Eekhoff claims he is an expert on Bix, but misidentifies him. Maybe Eekhof is the one who is tone-deaf and a fraud.

Eekhoff has latched on my miss-characterization of “West End Blues” and has repeatedly cited it. Indeed, Armstrong’s “West End Blues is a blues. I freely admit my error.

Albert Haim

Emrah Erken

After having read the impressive curriculum of Prof. Haim in chemistry, it remains for me a mystery that he is not able to recognize his own limits. I would expect particularly from a natural scientist slightly more objectivity in recognizing his own capacities.

With his "West End Blues is not a blues" claim he has once more proven that he doesn't have the expertise to talk about musical subjects.

People who know the work of Bix Beiderbecke and Red Nichols in the years 1924-1930 (recording period of Bix) won't find similarities between these two musicians, except for the fact that both played horn in the 1920s.

Comparing Bix and Louis is even more absurd. Louis Armstrong's solo on "Alone At Last" is most certainly not influenced by Bix Beiderbecke...

As to the subject "Who is better?" I agree with Sergio Calvé that the question should be asked differently.

Albert Haim

Calve complains that my chemistry background is irrelevant here. He deliberately neglects the fact that I was redressing a lie uttered by Eekhoff in his continuous efforts to attack me, namely, that "Albert Haim is nothing but a retired small time chemistry teacher at an American high school." Lies must be combatted vigorously with facts, and that is what I did.

Calve claims that "Eekhoff sustained his remarks on Bix and Red with known facts, Haim gives us his academic curriculum." I presented several documented facts about the influence of Bix on Red Nichols. But, like Eekhoff, Calve prefers to ignore facts in his attempts to deceive readers.

Albert Haim

Sergio Calvé

Mr. Haim: You did not present “several documented facts about the influence of Bix on Red Nichols”. You just quoted what Richard Sudhalter wrote in the liners of Vol. 5 of “Bix Restored”. Just other's OPINION.
Moreover, you said:
“The May 4, 1925 recording of "Tiger Rag" by the California Ramblers has a cornet solo that is an almost note for note copy of the solo by Bix in the earlier recording of the tune by the Wolverines. Frank Cush and Red Nichols were present in the California Ramblers session. As stated by Nick Dellow in the liners for the CD set "The Influence of Bix Beiderbecke" (Jass Records, JRC 1001), it is likely that the soloist is Red Nichols. Another example of the influence of Bix on Red”.
It’s a Nick Dellow’s OPINION. I read the word “likely”. Do you consider it as a FACT?
Please be coherent and stop boasting.
“Only a person who is musically ignorant finds any similarity between my work and Bix’s”. (Red Nichols).

Hans Eekhoff

Thank you Mr. Calve for the quote of Nichols own statement - I know he said it but couldn't find it.
It proves that Haim thinks that he knows more about Nichols playing and influences than Nichols himself!
And an the subject of Sudhalter winning tose prizes - it doesn't mean anything. Nobody in those committees knew anything about Bix. Sudhalter was merely rewarded for his writing skills (which no doubt he has).
All research for the book was done by Philip Evans, Sudhalter stole it and wrote a schmalzy book with it from which Evans distanced himself.
More later - Haim is not going to get away with all his nonsense this time.

Albert Haim

I will refute some of the most obviously incorrect assertions that have flooded this website.

Calve on Sep 4, 2008, 8:18 pm
“Eekhoff sustained his remarks on Bix and Red with known facts,”
If Calve bothered to read what Eekhoff wrote in his various postings, he would have realized that Eekhoff just made an assertion that is not justified by facts; it is a subjective evaluation. These are the exact words written by Eekhoff, “"I do not hear any influence of Bix on Red Nichols. Of the hundreds of Nichols records that I have there is not one on which Red sounds even remotely like Bix - with the exception of a few sides that Red recorded with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in early 1927. But Bix also sounds very much like Red on a few records, notable "There'll Come A Time" by the Trumbauer band. I am convinced that these rare similarities are purely coincidental." The fact brought up by Eekhoff, the better technique of Red as compared to Bix, is irrelevant to the question of the influence of Bix on Red.

Calve on Sep 5, 2008 at 12:49 am
“Mr. Haim: You did not present “several documented facts about the influence of Bix on Red Nichols”. You just quoted what Richard Sudhalter wrote in the liners of Vol. 5 of “Bix Restored”.”
I quoted, not only Richard Sudhalter, but also Gunther Schuller and Richard Hadlock. In addition, I presented, as supplementary and relevant information, the fact that Red Nichols copied note for note a solo by Bix and likely another one I know the difference between copying and influence. However, the fact that a musician decides to copy another musician’s solo is relevant evidence for an influence.

Erken on Sep 4, 2008, 9:49 pm
“People who know the work of Bix Beiderbecke and Red Nichols in the years 1924-1930 (recording period of Bix) won't find similarities between these two musicians, except for the fact that both played horn in the 1920s.”
Could Erken specify who are the “people who know the work of Bix Beiderbecke and Red Nichols” and the associated documentation that demonstrates the claim by these people that there are “no similarities between these two musicians”?

I am interested in the source (specific documentation, reference, year, etc) of Calve’s quote of Red Nichols “Only a person who is musically ignorant finds any similarity between my work and Bix’s”.

Albert Haim

PS Eekhoff should learn to curb his mouth. In addition to all the derogatory comments he has presented about prestigious musicians/historians, now he comes up with the unfounded accusation that Sudhalter “stole” the research for “Bix, Man and Legend” from Phil Evans. This is a cowardly accusation in view of the fact that Richard Sudhalter is suffering from MSA, is confined in a nursing home, and is unable to communicate with others.

Albert Haim

In Red Nichols own words via Woody Backensto. Reported by Evans and Evans, p. 122. Here is the complete quote. Calve selectively reported only the last sentence.

"Bix made a tremendous impression on me, and I'd be the last to deny that his playing had an influence on me, but I did not imitate him. We were both "evolving" our styles, and we took inspiration from many o the same sources. Only a person who is musically ignorant finds any similarity between my work and Bix's."

Lion in his Bix biography adds, commenting on this quote, "The influence of the Wolverines' leader [Bix, of course] on Red Nichols was greater than the latter would ever acknowledge."


Albert Haim

Hans Eekhoff

Although Mr. Haim has said in an earlier one of his boring epistles "I am not going to waste any more time with the stream of consciousness and irrational utterances of Eekhoff", as usual he does not keep his word and he is back with more absurd nonsense, not only wasting his own time but also ours.
Still, he has to be exposed for the unmusical charlatan he is and therefore we will continue to do so. He now mainly repeats his earlier idiocies; no need to go into them again, the commments are above in the various postings by me and others.
Although he has, miraculously, confessed that he was wrong in saying that West End Blues was not a blues composition, it doesn't mean that he is exonerated. I said it before and I'll say it again: his earlier remark disqualifies Mr. Haim as a serious discussion partner on these matters. He simply has no idea about music - period. In itself that is quite allright if it wasn't for the fact that he continues to indoctrinate the perhaps not so knowledgable sheep in the obedient flock of his own Forum with his twaddle. And now he thinks that he can also ventilate his silly views here and not be opposed. Well, forget it Mr. Haim.
New this time is the following absurdity: "the fact that a musician decides to copy another musician’s solo is relevant evidence for an influence". One can hardly say anything more stupid than that (well, Mr. Haim could, and I'm sure he will soon).
That means that every time somebody borrows something from another musician (which happens every day with every musician) he is automatically influenced by that musician. Such nonsense boggles the mind. And whatever Red Nichols himself had to say ("Only a person who is musically ignorant finds any similarity between my work and Bix’s") doesn't bother Mr. Haim because he simply does not believe that Red said it; no, Mr. Calve has to quote the source. But I predict this: when Mr. Calve does that you will not hear about this from Mr. Haim again. When he has really no escape route left, Mr. Haim simply keeps silent.
Mr. Haim hopes that the source can't be found because there is NOBODY in the entire world who values Mr. Haim's opinion above Nichols' own and even Mr. Haim realises that it might go a bit far to claim to know more about Bix'influence on Red than Red himself! Meanwhile, he does not HEAR that Red simply doesn't sound like Bix. Whatever people write or think - for God's sake just LISTEN to Red's records. It would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic at the same time.
And Mr. Haim's assertions that he has provided "evidence" (he very often says that) are also not true. he simply quotes others there where they have written something that suits Haim's views. That some of these writings have long become obsolete does not matter to the little scientist. According to him, in the case of jazz music, proof may be gathered anywhere, no matter who wrote it or when - as long as they support Haim's views. He has even not hesitated to substantiate some of his utterances with quotes from "Bugles For Beiderbecke", a completely out of date and wholly incorrect book, written in the late 50's by Charles Wareing and George Garlick. Equally Mr. Haim qualifies the ancient writings of the highly controversial Gunther Schuller and Richard Hadlock as the pure gospel. (The latter even managed to write, in all ernest, that Bix influenced Phil Napoleon!). Mr. Haim NEVER provides evidence - just other people's quotes. Mr. Haim is an excellent merger of views and repeater of other people's words, but he is totally unoriginal.
Mr. Haim's absurdities and narrow-mindedness have alienated most of those who are capable of talking sensibly about Jazz music and Bix in particular, which has left him with a languishing Forum in which he places most postings himself. That is fine. But he mustn't think that he can come here and poison this Forum as well.
Finally this. I will not dwell upon Mr. Haim's usual rudenesses and uncivilised behaviour. The man is too old to be re-educated.
However, the fact that Richard Sudhalter is very ill and in a nursing home is very sad indeed but does not alter the fact that he claimed all the honour for his book "Bix, Man and Legend" which was entirely based on Philip Evan's research of many decades and which Sudhalter moulded into a sentimental story from which Philip Evans strongly distanced himself. The frustration over this eventually killed Evans. And these are facts - well known long before Sudhalter became ill. Mr. Haim, why don't you ask Mrs. Evans about this?


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  • Marc Myers writes frequently on music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). JazzWax has been named the Jazz Journalists Association's "Blog of the Year."
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