Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grégorology - inspired by Bix and Tram?

I'm back after an extended absence over Christmas while I moved home. Thanks to Michael Steinman for mentioning my blog during that time. If you haven't already done so, visit his exceptional Jazz Lives blog without delay!

I was recently struck by this 1929 homage to Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer, by a French group led by Armenian bandleader Grégor Kelekian. They capture the nostalgic ambiance of the Bix, Tram and Lang recordings of 1927, but add their own musical ideas and gentle romanticism.

I'm fascinated that musicians all around the world were already understanding Bix and Tram's music, and striving to use it as a foundation for their own. Importantly, they are playing their OWN composition, though - something that could be a goal for more recent Bixophiles. New music inspired by old music needn't be a postmodern disaster!

What became of composer/pianist Lucien Moraweck, surely the guiding figure here? What about the saxophonist Edmond Cohanier, with his delicate tone and touch? Philippe Brun is a more well-known name, thanks to recordings with Django Reinhardt and others.

I feel a strong affinity with these musicians. They fulfilled a goal of mine - creating new music drawing upon the work of their heroes.

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