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Do You Speak Bix? (Andy Schumm and His Bixologists at Whitley Bay 2010)

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The title is not as fanciful as it seems. Bix Beiderbecke lived in and created his own world, much as Lester Young did—and it had its own private musical language. Think of the special break on SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL, the modulation into the vocal on SUNDAY, and more. So when a group of musicians get together to play the Bix-and-Tram repertoire, it's especially rewarding when they know all the curves in the road and share all the musical in-jokes.

This playful unity happens whenever Andy Schumm gets to lead a group of his musical intimates, and it was especially in evidence at his closing session at the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival in the summer of 2010. Here are the remaining nine performances from that set. The musicians are Andy, cornet and piano; Paul Munnery, trombone; Norman Field, reeds and vocal; Keith Nichols, piano and vocal; Spats Langham, banjo, guitar, vocal; Frans Sjostrom, bass saxophone; Josh Duffee, drums and vocal; Nick Ward, drums.

Josh tells the tale on THERE AIN'T NO LAND LIKE DIXIELAND TO ME:



And here's DEEP DOWN SOUTH, edging towards its proper ballad tempo:



When the sun goes down and the tide goes out . . . all the percussionists assemble for a choke-cymbal conversation (that's Nick Ward to the right) on MISSISSIPPI MUD:



The band-within-a-band pays homage to Bix, Tram, and Lang on WRINGIN' AND TWISTIN':



Have you received your packet of seeds? Political commentary aside, I wish that ev'rybody was doin' it now, the WA-DA-DA way:



Thinking of the glorious Jean Goldkette band in 1927 with SUNDAY:



Now that we all know how to pronounce CLEMENTINE (she comes from New Orleans), let's hear Norman Field sing about her charms:



Watch Spats Langham become the whole Paul Whiteman Orchestra on CHANGES:



Andy and the Bixologists offered a splendidly rocking SORRY to conclude:



I'd call these musicians (and singers) post-doctorate linguists, wouldn't you?

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This story appears courtesy of Jazz Lives by Michael Steinman.
Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.

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