“Sincerely, Bill Rank”

Here’s part three of an insightful documentary on YouTube about Bill Rank and his performances in Holland. Rank is best known as a sideman with Bix Beiderbecke, but “Santopec” comments on a confident, unique trombonist who continued to grow long after Beiderbecke’s Goethe-esque early passing:

The incredible technique is still there after “all those years,” even more well integrated into a highly personal (though clearly indebted to Miff Mole) style based off of wide intervals and suspended harmonies.  The difference is a surer, more rounded sound and suppler sense of construction, which allows those leaps and notes to color Rank’s inventions rather than anchor them (as they occasionally do on earlier records). Hearing Rank’s music on its own terms, without any legendary colleagues surrounding it, is the real find.

As for the “modest and captivating” person playing these solos, he confesses to embarrassment at the privileged treatment by his Dutch fans, and he still pronounces the name of an admired colleague with a Midwestern clip (“Adrian Roll-IN-e“).  Not much to do with the music, but sometimes the brain and heart behind the notes matter.  Who’d have thought?

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3 thoughts on ““Sincerely, Bill Rank”

  1. John says:

    Bill Rank comes across as a really nice guy, great videos- thank you for posting!

    • M. Figg says:

      My pleasure John, and he does come across as a really nice guy! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks as always for reading and commenting.

  2. Kurt Rank says:

    Thanks so much for posting this video from Holland. I am Bill Rank’s grandson. I did not know him well as he died when I was young, but his son (my father, also Bill Rank) has the same personality / disposition and I have always admired him for that. If you have any other information Bill Rank Sr., I would love to see it. Kind regards . Kurt Rank

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