A piano is not a cornet. That should be obvious, yet both the name of the label, Reference Recordings and statements like this one by pianist Dick Hyman in the notes"As with all of these replicas, I've tried to reproduce Bix' solo exactly."belie that obvious fact. Hyman's reproductions of cornet solos by Bix Beiderbecke lack not only the sounds characteristic of brass wind instruments, but the context of those solos. This is an unaccompanied piano recording; Bix recorded the solos rendered here with mostly small bands playing the New Orleans/Chicago style now termed trad jazz.
Thinking About Bix (Piano Solo) is not a reproduction but a refraction through the prism of Hyman's piano and imagination, providing a fresh setting for music originally performedor in the case of the Bix piano piecescomposed by Bix Beiderbecke. Like similar ventures that take transcribed solos from recordings and orchestrate them (the groups Pres and Bird Feathers, many tribute big band projects), Hyman's renditions here illuminate aspects of both Bix and the bands he worked with that are revelatory, clarifying harmonies and casting melody in a luminous spotlight. But Hyman's most impressive achievement is finding pianistic equivalents for band arrangements that reflect the suave sophistication of Paul Whiteman ("'Tain't So, Honey, 'Tain't So") or peppy, jazz age rhythmic spirit of Bix & His Gang ("Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down").
Only a jazz pianist as completely schooled in both piano technique and jazz piano history could pull off a project like this with the felicity and élan of Hyman. From the wonderful Bix and band interpretations and the four impressionistic piano compositions that make up Bix' "Modern Suite" to the final, rollicking four-hand duet with fellow pianist Mike Lipskin on "You Took Advantage of Me," Hyman imaginatively revives that old slogan: "Bix Lives!."
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.