LISTENING TO BIX, 1956

Josh Rushton, son of the late bass saxophonist / clarinetist Joe Rushton, sent this photograph — taken in his family house in Silverlake, California, in 1956.  The three men here are rapt in concentration, listening to Joe’s Bix Beiderbecke 78s.  From the left, they are cornetist Tom Pletcher, happily still with us, his father Stewart Pletcher — no longer alive but brought back to life through an extraordinary audio portrait on the JAZZ ORACLE label, and Rushton himself.  Josh pointed out the very exciting wallpaper (how could anyone miss it?) and the fact that it was used to cover the front of the floor-standing speaker to the right.  And don’t miss the photos on the wall of the Rushton den!  The photograph here gets deeper as you look more into it: the family photograph on the wall echoes the jazz family depicted and the jazz family gathered to listen to Bix. 

To me, casual photography seems devalued these days, with everyone snapping candids of themselves on their smartphones, but a photograph like this captures people, a place, a way of being: you can almost hear the records spinning. 

The photograph appears here courtesy of Josh Rushton, and is reproduced with his kind permission.

5 responses to “LISTENING TO BIX, 1956

  1. Are you sure about the 78s? Isn’t it a LP cover Stewart Pletcher is holding?
    Love the photo – but believe the smartphones make SOME people see more and in another way than they did before.

  2. Now, THAT’S what I call a woofer and a tweeter!

  3. Perfesser M. Figg

    What I love about this photo is that even if you don’t know who these people are, who Bix was, or what they’re listening to, there’s something so breathtakingly poignant about 3 people so clearely enraptured with a piece of music. The context of the photograph connects me to something bigger than the year I was born or where I was raised. Thank you.

  4. JAZZMAN JOE LYNCH

    VISIT MY JAZZ VIDEO’S ON YOUTUBE.COM CLICK ON BROADCAST YOURSELF THEN ENTER JAZZMANJOE1 IN THE SEARCH BOX TO SEE MY 500 VIDEO’S…………SEE THE BIX BANDS BY ENTERING “BBMS PRESENTS” IN THE SEARCH BOX…..COMMENTS WELCOME . BIX LIVES

  5. Joseph (Josh) Rushton

    My father had many many 78’s and LPs in that den, and Stew, no doubt was looking at one of them while they were listening to Bix. The telltale record jackets from the 78’s are sitting atop the speaker cabinet, FYI. Wish I knew what morsels Tom found while riffling through the other stack. But we can be sure it was a fun day.

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