Thursday, June 21, 2012
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Bix Beiderbecke
Song:In A Mist (Bixology)
Album:Vol. 1: Singin' The Blues
Along with Louis Armstrong, Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke is considered an influential jazz soloist. Of course the big difference is Beiderbecke died at a very young age and wasn't well known when he died. He is known for his trumpet playing. But In A Mist is one of Beiderbecke's cornerstone compositions but it's a solo piano piece. His trumpet playing was brilliant but we usually hear Beiderbecke in a very short burst within a large band context. He was born Mar. 10, 1903 in Davenport, IA and started playing piano at age three. He was a bit of a local prodigy. Bix was a family nickname. He started listening to jazz as a teen. His parents enrolled him in the exclusive Forest Lake Academy in the hopes that Bix would lose interest in music. Instead he took a train to Chicago to listen to jazz and sit in with bands. He got into trouble at school and moved to Chicago in 1922 to join The Cascades Band. In 1923 he joined the Wolverines Band and was in the band when they recorded in 1924. He also met Hoagy Carmichael who was a big influence. He left the Wolverines for Jean Goldkette in Detroit. But he didn't stay there long because Goldkette thought his playing was too hot. But he was introduced to sax player Frankie Trumbauer and they put a band together for the summer of 1925. The two returned to Goldkette afterwards. By this time Beiderbecke already had a reputation as a bad drunk. Goldkette did record for RCA in 1926. But Beiderbecke was not featured on those recordings. You have to be careful when shopping for Beiderbecke CDs. Meanwhile, Beiderbecke and Trumbauer formed a band to record for Columbia's Okeh label. This period in 1927 is when Beiderbecke recorded the solo piano piece In A Mist (Bixology) and those recordings are available on this Columbia budget comp. When Goldkette's band folded in Sept. 1927, the famed bandleader Paul Whiteman scooped up the musicians including Beiderbecke and Trumbauer. It was a good paying gig but Beiderbecke hated Whiteman's music. His drinking got worse and then he got the DTs when he tried to stop. He went home to Iowa to recover. When Beiderbecke returned to New York, Whiteman held a job for him but Beiderbecke refused it. But jobs were tough to come by for musicians in post stock market crash New York. Beiderbecke's final recordings were with Hoagy Carmichael in 1930. After that, Beiderbecke couldn't get work and he was still drinking anyway. Bix Beiderbecke died of pneumonia on Aug. 6, 1931 at age 26. Though he was respected by fellow musicians during his life, Beiderbecke was unknown otherwise. His legacy is much bigger today then it ever was back then. Today he is hailed as a jazz innovator and his music is worth checking out. Here's a video for In A Mist (Bixology) by Bix Beiderbecke.