The German pianist (pictured on the far right, with Rossano Sportiello) shares with Dick Hyman a love of the piano music of Bix Beiderbecke, and has also recorded some of it (on his solo album Stridewalk and the duo CD Tandem). Nevertheless, he only came to it after he had already been seduced by Bix’s recordings on cornet.
Bernd says: “The first two Bix Beiderbecke recordings I heard were I’m Coming Virginia and Singin’ The Blues at the age of 14. The quality and incomparable beauty of the cornet tone were overwhelming. Some notes are so rich in overtones that they ring like a bell. I especially love those he attacks with a sforzato followed by a fast vibrato. What nobel clarity of the phrases, the use of dynamics and the immense creativity in the melodic lines!
“With maximum efficiency Bix uses the harmonic material of the era and creates a music full of joy and excitement.
“When I met Ralph Sutton in my early twenties, I learned to know Bix’s piano music and immediately fell in love with it. A couple of years after Ralph Sutton had passed away, his widow Sunny took me to their home in Bailey, Colorado and showed me Ralph’s music room exactly in the state he had left it in, with a copy of the four famous piano solos on the upright’s music stand. Candlelights is probably my favorite among them.”
Due to the interest in this series, I’m extending it indefinitely. Tomorrow: Andy Schumm.