Bix Restored, Vol. 1
It has long been said that every note that exists of the legendary short-lived cornetist Bix Beiderbecke is well-worth owning and savoring. Happily, the Sunbeam label (on its BX subsidiary) has been reissuing every selection that Beiderbecke appeared on, in a series of four three-CD sets. Where this reissue series differs from previous ones is that even the numbers where Bix cannot be heard (but it is known that he is playing in the ensembles) are included. The first three-fer (which covers 1924 to September 1927) has all of Beiderbecke's recordings with the Wolverines, the Sioux City Six, his Rhythm Jugglers, and Jean Goldkette's Orchestra. In addition, Bix is heard on his first (and most significant) sessions with Frankie Trumbauer's combos and performing his piano solo "In a Mist." The set is rounded off by Jess Stacy's early piano versions of Beiderbecke's other impressionistic pieces ("Flashes," "In the Dark," and "Candlelights") from 1935 and 1939, since Bix never did record them himself. While the Goldkette selections are generally commercial (other than "Clementine"), there are many classics with the other bands on this perfectly conceived set, including "Jazz Me Blues," "Riverboat Shuffle," "Royal Garden Blues," "Big Boy," "Davenport Blues," "Clarinet Marmalade," "I'm Coming Virginia," "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," and Bix' most famous solo, "Singin' the Blues." This set (and the other editions in the series) is essential for all serious collectors of 1920s jazz.