[Dixielandjazz] Bix -

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 10 12:14:40 PDT 2003

Bixophile List Mates:

There is a new book out about the life of Bix Beiderbecke. It was
reviewed in today's Philadelphia Inquirer and the reviewer, Donald
Newlove calls it a "triumph".

By Frederick Turner
Counterpoint, 315 pages. $25.00

Opening paragraph from the review plus some excerpts:

"Frederick Turner's haunting time-novel, a canvas of the year 1929,
turns on the life and death of the sublime cornetist Bix Beiderbecke
while weaving each page full of period detail somewhat in the manner of
E. L. Doctorow's "Ragtime", the touchstone of such works."

"The glory of Bix lay in his tone and amazing originality at improvising
. . ."

"Most charming is a day Bix spends with Maurice Ravel, blowing some
mellow moon-glow for the composer. then taking him up to Harlem's Cotton
Club to hear the "dark dazzle" of Duke Ellington's jungle band, with
Bubber Miley's growling wa-wa mute.. Real jazz, not Whiteman's 'big
buttery' symphonic fluff. And don't miss Bix jamming with Louis
Armstrong on 'Tiger Rag' at Chicago's Sunset Cafe. Or his spotlighted
piano solo with Whiteman at Carnegie Hall bringing the audience to its
feet, the great Rachmaninoff himself there in the first row"  (no doubt
played in C)

"And then Bix is dead in Sunnyside, Of lobar pneumonia. Crazy Times.
Melancholy brilliance throughout. A triumph."

Reading this book may give folks a little more insight into the life and
music of Bix Beiderbecke and just who and/or what it was that
facilitated his genius.

If you dig Bix, you might want to read this book.

Steve Barbone

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