I was delighted to read this editorial piece in the Quad City Times (that’s Bix Beiderbecke’s home-town newspaper) about the influence of Bix here and abroad — as documented in a wonderful two-disc set.  And I was even happier to find myself quoted at length:

To be cited as an authority unexpectedly is a very rewarding state of affairs!  May it happen to you, too – – –

5 responses to “BIX LIVES (EVERYWHERE)!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention BIX LIVES (EVERYWHERE)! « JAZZ LIVES --

  2. Stompy Jones

    Dear Cited Authority,

    Congrats – and well deserved!

    I have the same mixed feelings about this fest as I do about Joplin, Missouri’s use of Mark Twain as a tourist attraction, or about Sedalia’s newfound pride in Scott Joplin. Better late than never, I suppose, but during these artists’ lifetimes, something more than stony indifference or outright hostility in their hometowns would have been nice. For a more optimistic spin, you could turn the statement around and say: These artists may have been under-appreciated during their lifetimes, but history has a way of sorting things out and greatness will eventually be recognized. How do you see it, Michael, cynically or optimistically?

    This passage from the article baffles me:

    “To me this is the baffling thing. Why, and not just Bix, but primarily Bix, why do these white guys in the early ’20s, in the Midwest, the Chicago area, and of course Bix in Davenport — they hear the music of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong,” Muldaur said in an interview on the blog, ‘The Beiderbecke Affair.’”

    What exactly is the baffling thing?


  3. Stompy Jones

    I presented you with s false choice between cynicism and optimism. My mixture of feelings includes much happiness that this kind of jazz is still being played and enjoyed. Celebrating Beiderbecke, Twain and Joplin? What could be wrong with that?

  4. Dear Baff (if I may be so informal),

    It indeed would have been thrilling for Bix to have been honored during his lifetime, but how many artists are understood, much less appreciated, while alive? I feel sad that he didn’t get as much as he deserved before 1931, but I do take pleasure in the idea of young players and older masters belting out CLARINET MARMALADE in situations that help the town and keep Bix’s music in people’s ears. Anything to not be forgotten, I think. (The parallel instance is Hull’s festival in honor of Philip Larkin, something he would have made pained satire of.) When we see the field, we should count the flowers rather than lament the dead patches, I think — not an original thought with me. And as far as Muldaur is concerned, I think someone took down his casual conversation exactly without bothering to say the necessary HUH? So that I can’t quite tell what is meant here myself. Is it miraculous that the white Midwestern boys heard Louis and Joe Oliver, or that they were so affected by what they heard? Or should there have been a second take? I don’t see the choice between optimism and cynicism as being exactly false, but perhaps an either/or, with no room for a more generously realistic, wider view. Let us celebrate what we have, for in this musical form sometimes (looked at through the wrong end of the telescope) it seems to be a narrow piece of the pie. Perhaps. Yours in solidarity, MS

  5. Rob Rothberg

    To be quoted in Davenport on Bix — it doesn’t get any better. Congratulations, Michael.

    Reading Muldaur (, I think what baffled him is that Bix listened to strong, original cornet voices — Armstrong, Oliver and LaRocca — to name a few — and started playing cornet in an entirely original way. Not that you can tell that from the QCT quote!

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