This record, one I’ve been on the lookout for for quite a while, arrived just in time for Hoagy Carmichael’s 116th birthday, and I know of no better occasion to feature it here than that.
Howard Hoagland Carmichael was born November 22, 1899 in Bloomington, Indiana. One of the most influential composers of the twentieth century, he is remembered for many enduring compositions including “Washboard Blues”, “Riverboat Shuffle”, “Star Dust”, “Rockin’ Chair”, “Georgia (On My Mind)”, “Lazy River”, and so many more. Carmichael graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in 1926, but after playing with a student band, he soon turned to music instead. Hoagy made his first recordings for the Indiana-based Gennett Records with Curtis Hitch’s Happy Harmonists in 1925. Over his long career, Carmichael became one of America’s foremost songwriters, and worked with such personalities as Paul Whiteman and Louis Armstrong, to name a few. Hoagy Carmichel died in 1981 at the age of 82.
Victor 25494 is a 1936 master pressed reissue made up of sides originally from two different discs, recorded on May 21, 1930 and September 15, 1930 in New York. Both sides feature different, but equally star studded personnel in the band. Hoagy does the vocal on both sides, and both feature the cornet of Bix Beiderbecke, in two of his last recording sessions.
“Rockin’ Chair” was originally issued on Victor V-38139 and features the musical talent of Bix on cornet, plus Bubber Miley on trumpet, Tommy Dorsey on trombone, Benny Goodman on clarinet, Arnold Brilhart on alto sax, Bud Freeman on tenor sax, Joe Venuti on violin, Eddie Lang on guitar, Irving Brodsky on piano, Hoagy on organ, Harry Goodman on tuba, and Gene Krupa on drums.
On the original recording of Carmichael’s famous “Georgia (On My Mind)”, originally issued on Victor 23013, the musicians present are Bix on cornet once again, with Ray Lodwig on trumpet, Jack Teagarden and Boyce Cullen on trombone, Pee Wee Russell on clarinet, Jimmy Dorsey on alto sax, Bud Freeman on tenor sax, Joe Venuti on violin, Eddie Lang on guitar, Irving Brodsky on piano, Min Leibrook on bass saxophone (though I honestly don’t hear a bass sax here), and Chauncey Morehouse on drums. This was Bix’s final recording session.