Tracks one through 19 of this second volume in the complete works of Frankie Trumbauer represent the last recordings that "Tram" made in the company of his friend Bix Beiderbecke. For generations each of these performances has been studied and savored primarily for the cornet passages (check that intro to "Borneo"!) and for Trumbauer's gentle handling of the C melody saxophone. During this period, most of Trumbauer's records were decorated with vocal passages of sometimes laughably puerile quality, as heard here on "Lila" and "Our Bungalow of Dreams." This anonymous vocalist, a staunch advocate of the "gee-whiz" style of singing, hid behind the pseudonym of Noel Taylor, used by the OKeh company to camouflage their sometimes questionable talent. Other singers include Scrappy Lambert, a cottony specimen by the name of Charles Gaylord, Smith Ballew, and Trumbauer himself. Be advised that "Bless You! Sister," "Dusky Stevedore," and "Take Your Tomorrow" are each thickly larded with Jim Crow racial stereotyping, as white men in audio-blackface carry on in minstrel show fashion. Ethically speaking, together with Lambert's assessment of "bamboo babies" on "Borneo," this is a low point in the Trumbauer story, even if "Take Your Tomorrow" does contain some measure of humorous theatrical timing. What endears lovers of early jazz to this spotty body of works is the presence of Bix Beiderbecke and guitarist Eddie Lang. Recorded on April 30, 1929, "I Like That," Bix and Tram's last recorded collaboration, is rosy and uplifting. Despite the absence of Bix on the remaining tracks, the positive vibrations continue and before you know it violinist Matty Malneck has been replaced by the inventive Joe Venuti. "What a Day!," "Alabamy Snow," and the zany "Shivery Stomp" are tasty instrumental foxtrots that bear repeated listening.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Mason Dixon Orchestra