[Dixielandjazz] Bix & Steve Beiderbecke

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 22 16:09:51 PDT 2003

I too sympathize with Steve Beiderbecke. My wife is a writer/reporter
and cringes when she gets assignments that are strictly slanted to
create controversy. Happens all the time. Bad news, controversy, scandal
sells. Good news doesn't which is why we see so little of it in the

Seems as if a bunch of folks got their knickers in a knot over Bix, and
his relatives. In doing so, we seem to have forgotten the essence of
Bix. That he was ahead of the curve with his music. And he may well have
stayed ahead of the curve had he lived. If that is what he is about,
then perhaps we need capture that essence, instead of re creating the
music itself. And worrying about whether he preferred black to white
jazz or vice versa. The articles and letters as printed in American Rag
seemed to be all about the writers of them and their bias rather than
about Bix Beiderbecke.

I love it when folks opine that he learned and/or copied from ODJB, or
Louis, or NORK, or whomever. Fact is his music is nothing like ODJB, or
Louis or NORK or whomever. It was his own, and it was constantly
changing. Perhaps had he lived, he would have been Dizzy Gillespie or
Chet Baker a decade earlier than either.

His mind, his originality, his accomplishments are worth celebrating and
damn few people understand that, much less celebrate them. The recent
New York City performances celebrating Bix did capture some of it with
updated arrangements of his music. Pity that we all couldn't hear them.

Me, when I want to reprise Bix, I play HIS records. I am still amazed by
them and could care less about the black/white thing because I believe
that the music is color blind.


More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list