307

Dick Hyman: Thinking About Bix (Piano Solo)

By

Sign in to view read count
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 performed—or in the case of the Bix piano pieces—composed 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!."

Track Listing: Thinking About Bix; Singin

Personnel: Dick Hyman, Mike Lipskin: piano.

Title: Thinking About Bix (Piano Solo) | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Reference Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Infra" CD/LP/Track Review Infra
by John Eyles
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "All My Treasures" CD/LP/Track Review All My Treasures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Hank Mobley" CD/LP/Track Review Hank Mobley
by Greg Simmons
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Common Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Common Ground
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: September 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.