Usually in tributes to Bix Beiderbecke, the cornetist gets the bright lights and paparazzi, and this is not to take anything from the brilliant and much-missed Richard M. Sudhalter — but the star here, for me, is George Barnes, whose love of Bix shines through every lucent phrase, every intent hornlike line, every nickel-bright chordal accent. Hear him leaping in on SUNDAY, dressing SWEET SUE in blue, jousting with Signor Joe and giving no quarter, becoming a supportive orchestra on SINGIN’ THE BLUES and then bending notes in his solo the way a master sculptor would, creating an audacious double-time break worthy of young Louis, shining the way on SAN (and chording delightfully behind Marty!).
The fidelity is low but the music is glorious.
Thanks to Derek Coller, the great biographer and enthusiast, we have a precious audience-recording from the Nice Jazz Festival (Grande Parade du Jazz) July 23, 1975: Dick Sudhalter, cornet; George Barnes, electric guitar; Joe Venuti, violin; Marty Grosz, guitar; Michael Moore, string bass; Ray Mosca, drums. SUNDAY / BLUE RIVER (Sudhalter-Grosz) / SWEET SUE (Barnes, Venuti, Grosz, Moore, Mosca) / SINGIN’ THE BLUES / SAN:
If this is your first introduction to the many worlds of George Barnes, learn more and hear more at https://georgebarneslegacy.com/. You’ll be charmed and amazed.
May your happiness increase!