From the Record Shelves #151

Mississippi Mud

LP Warner Bros. Records W 1275

On the LP cover, the uncredited commentary says: “Though Bix will be forever grieved, somebody else at least is playing his music.” And also: “Several of his written down compositions are regarded as classics in their field.” The music of this release is done with much respect and awe at the genius of Bix Beiderbecke who, with his piano and cornet playing, amazed the jazz world of the 1920s with his performances and thereafter with his legacy on records.

There are several ways to pay a tribute. You can play close to the original arrangements and even quote solos, but then you need to have a band that really knows the style. Playing close to the original records can give them the attention that they deserve. To modernize the classic Bix recordings with out-of-style drum playing and a later dixieland attitude doesn’t work very well, even if there is a devoted Bix Apostle in the center.

Another way is to do something new and try to keep something of Bix’s spirit in the proceedings.

This is the way here on most tracks, and it makes it an LP to enjoy. It’s music of its time in 1959, with a big band and strings, well arranged, and with a good trumpet soloist in Dick Cathcart. He is a studio musician and, as such, very different from Bix, but he does a good job here, especially in the slow tempos with lyrical ability.

I found the record not so long ago in a second-hand shop in the house next to mine. I might have passed it over since I have to go through a lot of uninteresting pop records there. But once I discovered it, I realized what a great cover the record has. And since I have everything recorded by Bix already, I don’t mind having a complement in this form. Very good Hollywood Hi-Fi recording!