Thanks to Michael Supnick and his YouTube channel (“Michaelsjazz”) here are performances from the 2003 Ascona Jazz Festival, featuring a group of musicians connected to the sometimes-fanciful film about Bix Beiderbecke. I believe it was called BIX: AN INTERPRETATION OF A LEGEND, and its intent was more homage than history.
The full band includes the remarkable Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber, with Tom Pletcher on cornet, David Sager on trombone, Frans Sjostrom on bass sax, Keith Nichols on piano, Joel Forbes, bass, Lino Patruno on banjo, Walter Ganda on drums, and Andy Stein on violin.
Let’s begin with JAZZ ME BLUES:
Bix never recorded ROSES OF PICARDY, but I would guess that he played this World War One melody:
We know he worked magic on SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL:
Andy Stein and Lino Patruno become Venuti and Lang for a few minutes on STRINGING THE BLUES:
On MARGIE, Sjostrom is characteristically majestic and mobile:
Joel Forbes replaces Frans for I’LL BE A FRIEND WITH PLEASURE:
Finally, with everyone on board — here’s a rocking but not-too-fast ROYAL GARDEN BLUES:
And a “Chicagoan” version of CHINA BOY, notable for Sager’s shouting solo and the pleasure on Davern’s face during Stein’s solo:
Behind the musicians, visible in flashes, are scenes from the film, for which a version of this band provided the appropriate soundtrack.
Bix never got to Europe, but his music certainly did. It was alive and lively in 20003 (his centennial) and continues to be.