Music for Independence Day - "Thinking About Bix"

Since we are only 5 days away from the 4th of July holiday here in the U.S., we wanted to get you in the festive mood by doing a "Music for Independence Day" blog series! First up in the series is Dick Hyman's recording "Thinking About Bix." Having this recording as an Independence Day recording might strike you as odd, but we have good reasons for including it in the series! First, Jazz is very much an American form of music, and the 1920s were the ultimate Jazz Age in the U.S., and Bix Beiderbecke (whom the album is in celebration of) was one of the premier jazz artists of the era! So, what is better for Independence Day than a celebration of something as uniquely American as Jazz?!

After that long explanation, now we give you Dick Hyman's recording of "Thinking About Bix" as the first album in our "Music for Independence Day" Series. And don't forget that we have a FREE TRACK from the album available for download from!

Thinking About Bix

solo piano

Dick Hyman, one of the most accomplished and versatile musicians alive, is especially known as an authority on early jazz. After a lifetime of playing and studying the music of Bix Beiderbecke, Hyman announced he’d like to record for RR a solo program of music associated with Bix, including all five original pieces Bix wrote for piano. (Most likely, these are a recorded first.) Hyman arranged other numbers Bix performed with various groups, and plays and improvises upon these in his distinctive, brilliant style. The title track is an infectious Hyman original reminiscent of the period. An attractive bonus is a piano four-hands performance with Hyman’s friend and stride authority, Mike Lipskin

Listen to Dick Hyman on NPR

"Dick treats us to his take on songs written performed and inspired by Leon Bix Beiderbecke. Bix was an amazing self-taught musician who amazed audiences on piano and later on cornet from childhood to his early death at 28. There's a ragtime bounce to the music, a style that influenced the signature of Hyman. We hear it unencumbered, as this is 100% solo piano captured in all of its glory. This session gives us a clear view of Bix as well as Hyman's talent both as a performer, composer and historian."Performance: 4, Sound: 5 out of 5 --O's Place

"This is a real winner... There are few people around, be they musicians or engineers, who could have made such a wonderful CD as this." -- Andre Gauthier, StereoMojo - complete review and more RR reviews ( you must scroll way down!)

4/5 Stars "There's a ragtime bounce to the music . . . We hear it unencumbered, as this is 100% solo piano captured in all its glory. This session gives us a clear view of Bix as well as Hyman's talent both as a performer, composer and historian." --Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Newsletter

"The musicianship is dazzling. At times, I just shook my head and laughed out loud at his level of virtuosity and musical invention — all in the service of the song. And the sound is swooningly beautiful." —Wayne Garcia, FI magazine (about Dick Hyman In Recital, RR-84)

"Throughout a busy musical career that got underway in the 1950s, Dick Hyman has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in film scores, orchestral compositions, concert appearances, and well over 100 albums recorded under his own name. While developing a masterful facility for improvisation in his own piano style, Hyman has investigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz and has researched and recorded the piano music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, Eubie Blake – and for RR, programs of Duke Ellington and Fats Waller."

“Prof.” Keith Johnson recorded THINKING ABOUT BIX in the renowned facilities of Skywalker Sound in California, using as always his own custom-made microphones, electronics and high-resolution digital converters. The compact disc is encoded with the High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) process, and the 176.4 kHz/24-bit masters will be released soon in RR’s HRx series, for computerized music servers.

Sound Samples / Downloads -

Track Listing - 1 Thinking About Bix; 2 Singin’ the Blues (Till My Daddy Comes Home); 3 Ostrich Walk; 4 I’m Coming, Virginia; 5 Jazz Me Blues; 6 Candlelights; 7 ‘Tain’t So, Honey, ‘Tain’t So; 8 Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down; 9 In the Dark; 10 Clementine (From New Orleans); 11 Lonely Melody; 12 In A Mist; 13 Sweet Sue (Just You); 14 Wringing’ and Twistin’; 15 Flashes; 16 Davenport Blues; 17 You Took Advantage of Me, with Mike Lipskin (piano four-hands).

Purchase this album as an HDCD or HRx from and sample the track "'Tain't So" as an HRx download from!

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