on February 9, 2002
Bix knew as much about the self-destuction of talent as Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison ever would. Here Whiteman, as he would a few other times, harbors a great jazz talent to spice up his band and keep a national traesure from starving to death. Bix gets his chances to kick butt with an explosive and awesome sound; some outstanding solo work here, and at moments you can hear him pull the whole band along behind him, like a Porsche pulling a couple of dachshunds. This is among his last great recordings.
Then there's Bing. If there hadn't been a Crosby, there never would have been a Sinatra. While others pursued the standard Incredibly Stiff White Guy style that predominated in the twenties, Bing was apprenticing with jazz players. He made it okay to relax, use a little jazz style, and to use a baritone voice instead of the usual Too Much Starch In MY Shorts tenor that was favored. Here you can hear him start to step out of the traditional box and start to assert the style that would completely change the face of male pop singers.
This is a great recording, a nice set of tunes, and an important chapter in American pop music history. I wore out my old vinyl version of this. Highly recommended.
on August 2, 2000
Bing Crosby albums showcasing his 1920's singing are brilliant and fun to listen to. Though his voice matured and became more resonant in the 30's, these early cuts with Bix are pure magic. Bing had fun and took great license with the melody and lyrics and engaged in some engaging scat singing, which he eschewed later on in his career. As the Gary Giddins' biography showed, Crosby was highly influenced by the incomparable Louis Armstrong and Satchmo's style can be heard in these seminal recordings.
I owned this record for years on vinyl and the CD version has a crisper sound and greater clarity. Pay particular attention to "My Pet," one of Bing's great early gems as a member of the Rhythm Boys, and "Lovable," which gives a hint to the great voice developing.
on September 21, 2000
Bing Crosby is probably the most underrated jazz singer(with the acception of Doris Day) who really was singing jazz while stiff singers like Irving Kaufman and John McCormick were as stiff as a rod. Crosby(who was highly influenced by Louis Armstrong's singing at the time) and Bix(who was also influenced by Armstrong's playing, but never imitated him) are featured here of course with Paul Whiteman's somewhat dated band, while Whiteman's outfit was playing dated uhm-pa-pa's Bing and Bix we're jazzing it up, which Whiteman didn't like at all, however Bing & Bix did add a lot of jazz content to Whiteman's outfit. This CD is mainly recomended to fans of Bix and Bing.