Sheet Music - PDF Download 3 pages, advanced level
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Bix Beiderbecke is a unique and significant figure in early jazz history, owing to his ability to inject a sort of wistful sorrow into the gayest of melodies. His tone on the cornet was heartbreakingly sweet and his phrasing very modern for the time, foreshadowing the advances Lester Young would make in the 1930s (though Young credited Bix’s associate, Frankie Trumbauer, as his inspiration, the latter owed much stylistically to Bix). Beiderbecke was a perfect icon for the jazz age, brilliant but otherwordly, and doomed to an early death, largely brought on by his taste for bathtub gin. “Susie” was a typical pop song of the era which would no doubt have been forgotten long ago had Bix not recorded it in 1924 while a member of the Wolverine Orchestra. Classic jazz aficionados were much more enthralled with “Riverboat Shuffle,” the flip side of the 78 that featured “Susie,” for several reasons. One is that this was Hoagy Carmichael’s first composition and recorded credit, and another is that Bix played a wonderful solo on “Shuffle” and none on “Susie.” But the tune has an irresistible charm that translates well for fingerstyle guitar.