[Dixielandjazz] Bix Jazz Anecdotes

Kurt bowermastergroup at qwest.net
Wed Dec 17 10:25:29 PST 2003

Was Doctor Jazz a dentist?...

>From page 221 of "Jazz Anecdotes":

As a boy, wrestling with a friend on the front lawn, Bix had been thrown to
the ground and had broken off one of his front teeth.  A Davenport dentist
fashioned a removable front tooth, slotted at the sides to fit neatly into
place.  It might never have bothered Bix again, save for his habit of
playing with it, removing it and slotting it back in when at all nervous.
It eventually became loose in his mouth, so that a cough or sudden jerk of
his head might dislodge it.

Eddie Condon describes Bix's ensuing dental problems:

He was having the usual trouble with his pivotal tooth; it was in front,
upstairs, and it frequently dropped out, leaving Bix unable to blow a note.
Wherever he worked it was customary to see the boys in the band down on the
floor, looking for Bix's tooth.

Once in Cincinnati at five o'clock in the morning while driving over a
snow-covered street in a 1922 Essex with Wild Bill Davison and Carl Clove,
Bix shouted, "Stop the car!"  There was no speakeasy within sight.  "What's
the matter?" Davison asked.  "I've lost my tooth," Bix said.

They got out and carefully examined the fresh snow.  After a long search
Davison sighted a tiny hole; in it he found the tooth, quietly working its
way down to the road.  Bix restored it to his mouth and they want on to The
Hole in the Wall, where they played every morning for pork chop sandwiches
and gin.  It was natural for Bix not to get the tooth permanently fastened;
he couldn't be bothered going to the dentist.

Hoagy Carmichael also remembered Bix's tooth:

The last time I had seen him his pivotal tooth fell out when he leaned out
of the hotel window to yell "goodnight" down at me.  We searched frantically
with matches burning our fingers - so he could play that night.  No tooth,
no music.

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