Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Sound of Bix

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Sound of Bix

Article excerpt

Sound of Bix

The Dukes of Dixieland

Leisure Jazz MD-1074-2

Steve Blailock (g), Kevin Clark (tp), Tom Fischer (saxes), Connie Jones (ent), Tim Laughlin (cl), Everett Link (b), Tom McDermott (p), Ben Smith (tb), Richard Taylor (dr, ldr). New Orleans, May 1996.

Ostrich Walk/ At The Jazz Band Ball/ Goose Pimples/ Borneo Bay/ Singing The Blues/ Riverboat Shuffle/ Davenport Blues/ San/ In The Dark/ Limehouse Blues/ Down By The Riverside/ Old Man River/ Rhythm King. TT 51:33.

It seems like the Dukes of Dixieland have been around forever. Formed in 1949 by the Assunto brothers, Frank and Fred, they recorded albums for Epic and RCA Victor before hitting it big with a series of Audio Fidelity stereo albums beginning in 1956. My introduction to them occurred at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon party in 1956 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, a gig that almost bankrupted the fraternity treasury. Rock hadn't yet taken over and Dixieland was still wildly popular among the college set. The band went on to record a couple of albums with Louis Armstrong in 1959 and 1960 (variously on Audio Fidelity AFSD 1924, 2132, 5924, 6241), for which he was paid $40,000, about $250,000 today! These sessions were certainly the highlight of the original band's recorded legacy.

But Fred Assunto died of a heart attack at age 36 in 1966 and brother Frank passed away in 1974 at age 44, and so one would have thought that the glory years were over. Yet, the band lives on, or has assumed a Second Coming as its current website touts its tradition only from 1974 when control passed from the Assunto family. …

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