Bix Beiderbecke Biography (BBC)
In his short life, Bix Beiderbecke left a legacy of recordings of his beautiful cornet sound, his impressionistic piano playing, and the most influential alternative to Louis Armstrong's approach to jazz cornet. His solo playing was supremely melodic, phrased slightly after the beat, and with such clarity of sound that one contemporary described it as 'like shooting bullets at a bell', while guitarist Eddie Condon likened his tone to 'a girl saying 'yes'.
Beiderbecke was largely self-taught , and his enthusiasm for 1920s Chicago jazz led him to join the Wolverines in 1924, with whom he recorded his first influential discs. he led many of his own groups in the studio, several of them comprising New York session players, but he also worked with the big band of Jean Goldkette, groups led by Goldkette's lead altoist Frankie Trumbauer, and eventually the giant big band of Paul Whiteman. His jazziest playing is to be found in his own discs and those with Trumbauer, especially Singin' The Blues and I'm Coming Virginia, which are the two finest examples of his introspective, melodic style.
After health problems and a serious physical assault , the circumstances of which have remained mysterious, Beiderbecke left Whiteman in September 1929 and never fully recovered his health of career. His early death was hastened by alcoholism. He was one of the first American jazz players to include harmonic ideas form European classical music, and his piano compositions, notably In a Mist, have echoes of the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel in a jazz context.
Bix Beiderbecke Biography (Wikipedia)
Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer.
With Louis Armstrong and Muggsy Spanier, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s. His turns on "Singin' the Blues" and "I'm Coming, Virginia" (both 1927), in particular, demonstrated an unusual purity of tone and a gift for improvisation. With these two recordings, especially, he helped to invent the jazz ballad style and hinted at what, in the 1950s, would become cool jazz. "In a Mist" (1927), one of a handful of his piano compositions and one of only two he recorded, mixed classical (Impressionist) influences with jazz syncopation.
A native of Davenport, Iowa, Beiderbecke taught himself to play cornet largely by ear, leading him to adopt a non-standard fingering some critics have connected to his original sound. He first recorded with Midwestern jazz ensembles, The Wolverines and The Bucktown Five in 1924, after which he played briefly for the Detroit-based Jean Goldkette Orchestra before joining Frankie "Tram" Trumbauer for an extended gig at the Arcadia Ballroom in St. Louis. Beiderbecke and Trumbauer joined Goldkette in 1926. The band toured widely and famously played a set opposite Fletcher Henderson at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City in October 1926. He made his greatest recordings in 1927 (see above). In 1928, Trumbauer and Beiderbecke left Detroit to join the best-known dance orchestra in the country: the New-York-based Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
Bix Beiderbecke Tracks