Is it Bix?

I’ll weigh in on the controversy: If it’s actually Andy Secrest as credited on the 1929 recording of Alabammy Snow, then Secrest was capable of an extraordinary Bix Beiderbecke imitation. That he was a good imitator is plausible — Secrest had after all been hired away from Jean Goldkette’s orchestra by Paul Whiteman precisely because of his ability to emulate Bix’s cornet playing. Bix’s health was failing and so Secrest was backing him up at both events and recording sessions. But was Secrest really *that* good an imitator? After weighing the evidence (af little) and using my ears (a lot), I’ve concluded it must be Bix.

You can begin a deep dive into Bixology here if you’re inclined. The debate about whose cornet can be heard on the 1929 side Alabammy Snow continues. See here for example.

I took a shallow dive into Bixology after listening to Alabammy Snow. All the musicians on the record are incredible: Trumbauer, Secrest (credited on cornet), even Quinn on guitar. The rhythm is locked in, the solos are full of character. The tune is short and sweet. It’s a real toe-tapper that feels very ‘Twenties’ to me.

To my ears, the cornet solos feature signature Bix elements: coy melodic ornamentation and glissandi, ‘in the pocket’ rhythmic feel, nuanced phrasing, articulation and dynamics, whole tone scale runs, and a a trademark Bix dom7 flat9 arpeggio that reaches up to the flat9 on the strong beat.

This cello tribute to Bix (or perhaps Secrest’s Bix?) features all the solos on Alabammy Snow. I tried to reproduce especially Bix’s glissandi, phrasing, dynamics and articulations as accurately as I could.

Transcription for cello available here:

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