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Traditional Jazz & New Orleans - Released November 25, 2001 | Naxos

In less than an hour, Naxos tries to summarize the career of the nearly mythic trumpeter, drawing from the usual OKeh sources with a couple of early Gennetts thrown in to fill in the beginning of the story. After starting with the Wolverines' "Riverboat Shuffle" and Bix and His Rhythm Jugglers' "Davenport Blues," the CD weaves its way through some of the Frankie Trumbauer sides and the Bix and His Gang sessions, touching obvious high points ("Singin' the Blues," "For No Reason at All in C"), while leaving out a few (where's "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans"?). The extensive series of recordings that Beiderbecke made with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra is not touched; the emphasis here is strictly on the hot combo sessions. There is one most welcome detour; Beiderbecke's astoundingly beautiful, Debussy-like piano solo composition "In a Mist." Naxos' transfers are listenable and undistorted, yet still sound compressed in comparison with Sunbeam's open, ungimmicked transfers in its Bix Restored series and the actual 78 RPM pressings. However, they are preferable to Columbia's garishly brighter reissues. Collectors probably have all of this often-reissued stuff anyway, so this disc is aimed at those who want a compact introduction to this fascinating musician -- and as such, at Naxos' low price, it's a good bet. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo