The Bix Beiderbecke Story
The Bix Beiderbecke Story is a 3-LP set by Columbia documenting the life and work of legendary cornetist Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke. It includes excellent biographical notes by acclaimed producer George Avakian.
The series splits Bix’s career into “Bix and his Gang”, “Bix and Tram”, and “Whiteman Days” (referring to his time with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra). The first two volumes blow the third out of the water, in my opinion, but I’m glad they’re presented together for a complete picture.
Altogether, this set includes some of the very best recordings in the idiom. Bix balanced refinement and raw creativity in a way few soloists could touch (I have to add that Frankie “Tram” Trumbauer gives him a run for his money). These exemplify the sound of the late 20’s, leaving the raw dixieland and Chicago styles behind for a more composed, larger-ensemble structure, but before the sweet “big band” sound became popular in the 30s.
As you’ll read in the notes, Bix’s career was cut tragically short by his alcoholism. He died in Queens, New York in 1931 at the age of 28.
Catalog number Columbia CL 844 - 846. I think it was first published in 1950, but these are from a 1963 edition of surprisingly high fidelity.