Bix — Two musical sides

Thanks to Tim Gracyk

That was Bix’s version of Sorry, recorded in 1927.  The record features Bix on cornet, Bill Rank on trombone, Don Murray on clarinet, Adrian Rollini on bass sax, Frank Signorelli on piano, and Chauncey Morehouse on drums. This recording was a high point in his career.

Bix Beiderbecke (cornet) along with Louis Armstrong (trumpet) were the two major figures to come out of the brass section on the 1920‘s hot jazz bands.  Both made pioneering records for the Gennett Records Company.  Louis Armstrong had the happier of the two stories; he lived into the 1970‘s and had evolved into more of a popular music figure.  In later life, he even managed to knock the Beatles out of the number 1 spot on the record sales charts.

Bix had a much shorter and  sadder story.  He had become an alcoholic in the 1920‘s when alcohol was illegal and dangerous.  Bix died in 1931 at age 28 from the effects of prolonged alcoholism.  But, he developed a hard core of fans dedicated to preserving his memory, with annual revivals in his home town of Davenport, Iowa.    Bix also has a following in Europe thanks to the Italian director Pupi Avanti and his 1990 biopic, Bix.

Bix could not read music, but he learned to play the piano by ear and came up with several compositions, which his friend Bill Challis transcribed into sheet music.  Some of his compositions have been compared to Maurice Ravel.   The following Dick Hyman’s wonderful performance on his CD Thinking About Bix of  Bix’s In the Dark:

Thanks to MookRyan and Thinking About Bix


About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
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