AND RELATED BOOKS
Twelve Lives in Jazz
A Pictorial History of Jazz
Jazz Masters of
Jazz Masters of the Thirties
The Reluctant Art
Jam Session, An Anthology of Jazz
The Jazz Tradition
The Jazz Makers
The Art of Jazz
The Making of Jazz: A Comprehensive
Voices of the Jazz Age
Frontiers of Jazz
We Called It Music
Bunny Berigan, Elusive
Legend of Jazz Waiting
My Life in Jazz
Sylvester Ahola, The
The Stardust Road
Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy
Sometimes I Wonder
Tram, The Frank Trumbauer Story
Call Me Lucky
Liners in Records
Lives in Jazz" by
Duncan Schiedt. Delta Editrice, Parma, Italy, 1996. Description:
book; 176 pages; hundreds of photographs. This beautifully
and printed book provides biographical information on twelve jazz
using mostly photographs, interspersed with a limited amount of text.
of the lives included in the book is that of Bix Beiderbecke. The
about Bix consists of 12 pages and contains 17 photographs. The facts
Bix's life are presented concisely. The quality of the photographs is
Some of the other lives in this book are those of Louis Armstrong,
Smith, Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Goodman.
Pictorial History of Jazz" by
Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer, Jr., Crown Publishers,
Inc., New York, 1955. Description: oversize book; 282 pages; hundreds
photographs. A second edition was published in 1966. The book is
in 21 chapters. Chapter 9 is entitled "Bixology" and consists of 8
and contains 15 photographs. As compared to "Twelve Lives in Jazz",
book contains a much higherratio of photographs to text. Other chapters
of interest, in connection with Bix, are chapter 8, "Friars Point
which provides photographs of the Austin High Gang and of other
and chapter 1, "Turn on the Heat" which provides photographs of several
of the "hot" white musicians who were Bix's contemporaries
Nighthawks, Bailey's Lucky Seven, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Phil Napoleon) or
with Bix (Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Miff Mole, Adrian Rollini, the Dorsey
Brothers, Frank Signorelli).
Masters of the Twenties" byRichard
Hadlock, Collier Books, New York, 1965. Description:
255 pages, eleven photographs. The book consists of eight chapters
the following jazz giants: Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Bix
The Chicagoans, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson, Jack Teagarden,
Henderson and Don Redman, Bessie Smith, and Eddie Lang. A very
summary of Bix's life and an excellent analysis of his recordings.
Masters of the Thirties" by
Rex Stewart, MacMillan Publishing Co., New York, 1972. Description: 223
pages. The book consists of twenty chapters and covers, among others,
Henderson, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Red Norvo, Duke Ellington.
The first chapter discusses the Jean Goldkette Orchestra. This is an
personal account by one of the players in the jazz scene at the time of
Goldkette's zenith, when Bix and Tram were part of the band.
Reluctant Art, Five Studies in the Growth of Jazz" by
Benny Green, MacGibbon and Kee, London, 1962. Description: 191 pages.
book consists of five chapters about Bix Beiderbecke, Benny
Lester Young, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker. The author, in a
fashion, tries to demystify Bix. He argues against detractors, such as
the irrational Rudi Blesh; he chastizes those who use hyperbole, such
Hoagy Carmichael and Eddie Condon. The author does not get bogged down
in the details of Bix's life. The emphasis is in an analysis of Bix's
to music and of his recordings. An excellent treatment of Bix's life as
Session, An Anthology of Jazz" edited
by Ralph J. Gleason, The Jazz Book Club, London, 1961. Description: 253
pages with illustrations. The book, divided into six sections such as
Background of Jazz, The Jazz Revival, The Coming of Modern Jazz, etc.
a compilation of articles previously published in various magazines.
article by Otis Ferguson, "Young Man with a Horn" was
published in The New Republic in 1936. It is a rather short article,
of particular interest for several reasons. It was written not long
Bix's death. The title of the article was later borrowed by Dorothy
for her (failed) novel. Ferguson's article was essential in bringing
and Bix to the attention of the public.
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Jazz Tradition" by
Martin Williams, Oxford University Press, New York, 1983,
287 pages and discographic information. The book consists of twenty two
chapters covering such great jazz artists as King Oliver, Sidney
Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, etc. The chapter on Bix is entitled "Bix
Beiderbecke, The White Man's Burden". The author begins by
white and black contributions to jazz. The basic tenet in this article
is "that white players of the 'twenties and early 'thirties brought a
lyric sensibility to jazz and this sensibility has had an effect on its
subsequent development." The author goes further to say that Bix was
most important and influential of those white musicians, and provides
interesting analysis of his musical contributions.
Jazz Makers" edited
by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff, Peter Davies Ltd., London, 1958.
368 pages. The book covers the lives and music of twenty one jazzmen,
Jelly Roll Morton, Baby Dodds, Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Bix
Pee Wee Russell, etc. The chapter on Bix is written by George Hoefer.
begins in a similar vein as Benny Green's "The Reluctant Art." I quote:
we have Bix Beiderbecke, an unappreciated artist while still alive,
through a complete cycle of favour and disfavour in the short space of
twenty years: from the greatly exaggerated, "He was the greatest," to
"He was grossly overrated" schools of thought." Thus, the
dismisses earlier, biased opinions, disregards overblown claims, and
his attention on Bix's music. To place his analysis in
the author interweaves some facts from Bix's life and his music. In
manner, the author provides an informative evaluation.
Art of Jazz" edited
by Martin T. Williams, Grove Press, Inc., New York, 1960. Description:
248 pages. This is an anthology of articles previously published in
venues. Some of the artists included are Sidney Bechet, King Oliver,
P. Johnson, and Bessie Smith. The article about Bix Beiderbecke was
by George Avakian, at one time director of popular albums for Columbia
Records. The article in this book is a condensation of the liners that
Mr. Avakian wrote for the Columbia Records CL-844, CL-845, and CL-846,
"The Bix Beiderbecke Story", Volumes 1, 2, and 3. The article is a nice
short summary of Bix's life and a good evaluation of Bix's musical
and impact in the world of jazz.
Making of Jazz, A Comprehensive History" by
James Lincoln Collier, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1978. Description:
543 pages, discography and bibliography, photographs. This detailed and
thoughtful book is divided into four parts. I. The Precursors. II New
The Burgeoning of the Classic Style. III The Swing Age: A Music
IV The Modern Age. Part II contains a chapter entitled "Bix: the
Tragic Temperament." This
is, in my opinion, one of the best short treatments of Bix's life and
Utilizing a concise style, blending together facts and interpretation,
the author comes up with a plausible analysis of Bix's inability to
control of his life. Part II includes a chapter named "Henderson,
Goldkette, and the Making of the Big band." There is little
of the Jean Goldkette band. The analysis focuses on the other
band in the Goldkette organization, the McKinney's Cotton Pickers.
of the Jazz Age
by Chip Deffaa, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1990.
Description: 256 pages, notes, bibliography, a guide to further
photographs, index. The book consists of eight chapters each about a
giant born before 1910: Sam Wooding, Benny Waters, Bix Beiderbecke, Joe
Tarto, Bud Freeman, Jimmy McPartland, Freddie Moore, and Jabbo Smith.
chapter about Bix is entitled "Bix Beiderbecke: An Appreciation". The
of the chapter is an elaboration and expansion of the booklet that
the release in 1988 of the Sunbeam set of recordings "Sincerely, Bix
This is one of the best profiles about Bix that I have seen. The author
provides complete biographical information, places Bix in context with
respect to jazz history, and discusses the influence of Bix on other
There is a fairly detailed discussion of the relations between Bix and
his family, and of recordings that have been attributed to Bix.
Frederic Ramsey, Jr. and Charles Edward Smith, Harcourt, Brace and Co.
New York, 1939. Description: 360 pages, 18 illustrations. A collection
of eight articles about jazz musicians (King Oliver, Louis Armstrong,
Beiderbecke and the Austin High School Gang) and general jazz topics
Orleans Music, White New Orleans, Blues, Boogie Woogie). The chapter on
Bix by Edward J. Nichols is a readable account, but somewhat
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of Jazz" edited
by Ralph de Toledano, Oliver Durrell, Inc. New York, 1947. Description:
178 pages. A compilation of articles published earlier in a variety of
magazines. There is one article, by George Johnson, about "The
and Bix." George Johnson was the tenor sax player for the
Orchestra. This article is of particular interest for two reasons.
there is a first-hand account by one of the active players in the jazz
scene around 1923-24. Second, this is the only account of the
that I have been able to find. George Johnson provides several
of great interest, and also gives his personal opinion of the impact
Bix had on his fellow musicians.
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Berigan, Elusive Legend of Jazz" by
Robert Dupuis, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1993.
368 pages, nineteen photographs, genealogy, discography and
This book is a detailed account of trumpeter Bunny's life and music.
in 1931, Bix and Bunny appeared in the same bandstand with the group
by the Dorsey brothers. Chapter 10, entitled "In a Mist"
provides an interesting comparison of the two immortals.
for Dizzy" by
Gene Lees, Oxford University Press, New York, 1991. Description: 234
This book consists of a series of interviews of important jazz
by an insider, a man who is amusician
himself. One of the chapters, entitled Bix and Bill, is
result of an interview of Bill Challis. There is first a general
of the importance of white musicians in jazz, in particular, Bix and
and of Bill Challis' (with Vince Giordano) recording of "The Goldkette
Project". The interview is full of insights into Bix's activities
during the Goldkette, Whiteman, and post-Whiteman years. There are two
other interviews of interest in connection with Bix, those of the great
jazz violinist Joe Venuti and of Spiegle Willcox, who played trombone
Bix and the Jean Goldkette Orchestra.
Called It Music" by
Eddie Condon, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1947. Description: 341
pages, photographs, discography. This is an autobiographical account by
the banjo player. The dedication of the book reads "FOR BIX, I
he is not wearing a cap". One of the chapters is entitled "Young
Man with a Cap". The cap refers to Eddie's first encounter
Bix in 1922 in connection with a gig in Syracuse by a group of Chicago
musicians under the name of The Royal Harmonists of Indiana.
Bix was wearing a cap (and a green overcoat) when he met Eddie who
not believe that a guy wearing that kind of cap (and a green overcoat)
could be the greatest jazz cornetist of all times. The chapter contains
many stories related to Bix - as remembered by Mr. Condon. It is not
what is the proportion of fact to fiction in most of the accounts.
Life in Jazz"by
Max Kaminsky, Andre Deutsch Ltd. London, 1964. Description: 242 pages.
Another autobiographical book, but this one is well-written and
In chapter 2, Max provides a detailed account of his first meeting with
Bix in Boston, in the Spring of 1926, when the Jean Goldkette orchestra
toured the northeast. This is a very interesting, personal narrative
lots of very interesting tidbits of information.
Stardust Road" by
Hoagy Carmichael, Rinehart and Co., Inc. New York, 1946. Description:
pages, photographs. This autobiographical book is dedicated to Bix
and to William Moenkhaus. There are references to Bix throughout the
In fact, the book starts with Hoagy's account as to how he learned of
death. Hoagy has a tendency to exaggerate things, but, by and large,
book is required reading for any one who desires to have a more than a
superficial understanding of Bix.
Roll, Bix, and Hoagy. Gennett Studios and the Birth of Recorded Jazz"by
Rick Kennedy, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1994. Description:
233 pages, twenty one illustrations, notes, and bibliography. This book
is an exhaustive,well-documented account of the
Gennett Recording Company. The author manages to make the history of
relatively obscure (except among jazz fans and collectors) recording
fascinating. There is an extensive discussion of Bix, of the Wolverines
and their recordings, and of the friendship between Bix and Hoagy. The
author provides an in-depth discussion regarding the speculation that
might have been the cornetist in Marion McKay's recording of Doo
Wacka Doo (It was probably Leroy Morris). The detailed account
of the lawsuit brought by the Victor Company against the Starr Piano
(the parent organization of the Gennett Recording Company) is
Frank Trumbauer Story" by
Philip R. Evans and Larry F. Kiner, with William Trumbauer, The
Press, Inc., Metuchen,
N. J., 1994. Description: 821 pages plus xix, twenty four photographs,
comprehensive discography, chronology, song title index. This book is
18 in the Studies in Jazz series from the Institute of
Studies, Rutgers -The State University of New Jersey. The biography
the first 274 pages. It is very detailed and includes memos written in
1953 by Tram as he planned an autobiography. Tram's comments, taken
his 1928 diary and from pages of three other diaries, are included in
chronology section. The discography is extremely detailed and includes
the original issues, reissues, LP albums and CD's. There are numerous
to Bix Beiderbecke. In fact, the Bix and Tram combination was so
that this book is required reading for anyone who has more than a
interest in Bix.
Ahola, The Gloucester Gabriel" by
Dick Hill, The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, N. J., 1993.
220 pages plus xi, thirteen photographs, discography, bibliography and
song index. This book is number 14 in the Studies in Jazz
series from the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers -The State
of New Jersey. The author had free access to the files, letters and
of Saima and Sylvester Ahola. Extracts from the diaries are included in
the biography section. There are several interesting references to Bix.
Chords, White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945" by Richard
University Press, New York, 1999. Description: 890 pages, thirty seven
photographs, index of names, index of musical titles, bibliographic
This massive and well-documented work
contains a lot of material about Bix and related musicians, such as
Goldkette, Frank Trumbauer, Miff Mole, Adrian Rollini, Bud Freeman,
Lang, and the Dorsey brothers. From a first reading, the chapter "Bix
Beiderbecke and Some of His Friends" is an excellent analysis
Bix's seminal contributions to the jazz idiom. Several of Bix's solos
analyzed in detail and there is an interesting attempt at understanding
Bix's decline and eventual self-destruction through alcoholism. The
provides insights and an analysis of Bix's tragedy not found in
I Wonder" by
Hoagy Carmichael with Stephen Longstreet, Farrar, Strauss and Giraux,
York, 1965. Description: 313 pages, photographs. This is an excellent
of Hoagy's life. This autobiography emphasizes the first thirty years
Hoagy's life. There are lots of fascinating details about Bix. Overall,
the accounts here are much more believable than those in "The
Road". I liked particularly the sections covering the Wolverine
thoughtful and very positive review of "Lost Chords" is provided by
D. Atteberry, Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, in
April 1999 issue of The Mississippi Rag. Mr. Atteberry refers to
Sudhalter's treatment of Bix : "Of Bix Beiderbecke, Sudhalter is brief
and eloquent, and I am impressed. Sudhalter co-wrote an excellent
of Beiderbecke, Bix: Man and Legend, but often writers
have done such extensive research on a topic find it difficult to
their knowledge into a few pages. Sudhalter briefly and gracefully
that Beiderbecke, even more than Armstrong, is a phenomenon unto
springing from no particular style or school and influencing others
than we have imagined. Sudhalter argues that even though many musicians
borrowed Bix's phrases, few pierced through to the brooding spirit
them." Finally, I quote the last two paragraphs from the review: " It
not possible, in a single review, to touch upon all the excellences of
this book. Suffice to say that the chapters on Artie Shaw, Red Norvo
Mildred Bailey, Pee Wee Russell and Jack Teagarden are as intelligent
insightful as anything I've read on the topic. Most books embellish or
refine an existing way of thinking. Only a few books prompt us to think
in fundamentally new ways, to see a subject through an entirely new
Chords is one of those rare books. It takes a large investment
of time, but it's worth it. In most repects, this is a book that jazz
will never finish but will keep returning to as their listening trails
A lengthy and
insightful review of the book appeared in the February 1999 issue
the Atlantic Monthly. The review is available on
Another comprehensive review is available
12/29/00. Richard M. Sudhalter is the recipient of one of the 33rd
Annual Ascap-Deems Taylor Awards for the year 2000. The ASCAP-Deems
are presented in honor of Deems Taylor, a distinguished composer, music
critic, editor, and radio commentator who served as ASCAP's (American
of Composers, Authors and Publishers) President from 1942-1948. The
citation was bestowed upon Richard Sudhalter for his book "Lost Chords:
White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz. 1915-1945", Oxford
Press, 1999. The presenter of the award singled out "breadth and
scope of research" as well as "elegance of writing style" in the award
"Lost Chords" was
also selected by the New York Times as one of the "Notable Books of the
Year" in the non-fiction category at the end of 1999.
Me Lucky" by
Bing Crosby as told to Pete Martin, Simon and Schuster, Inc., N. Y.,
Description: 343 pages plus vii, sixty one photographs and index. In
his professional career, Bing Crosby wore many hats (no pun intended).
He was a jazz singer, a crooner, a slapstick comedian, a serious film
a TV personality, an entertainer, etc., etc., etc. We focus here on
the jazz singer, in my opinion the best jazz singer of all times.
path crossed Bix's in late 1927 when Bix, after the failure of the New
Yorkers, joined Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. Bix and Bing were
they double-dated the Shaffney sisters, and were good drinking buddies.
In this biography, which covers all of Bing's career, the activities of
Bing, the jazz singer, are necessarily a small portion of the book.
there are some interesting insights into Bix's life, interests, and
genius. The third and fourth sections of chapter 5 are entitled Bix and
Bix's Crowd, respectively. There are only three pages devoted to Bix,
they are dense in information and contain lots of little gems. Some
follow: "The cornet was his instrument, but I sometimes think he played
piano better than he played the cornet." "Bix never liked to go to bed,
so he always felt terrible physically." "Bix was very intellectual,
well read, and as good an authority on new American symphonic music or
classical music as anyone I've ever known." Although Bing's memories of
Bix cover just a few pages, I think that any serious Bixophile ought to
read them carefully.
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Table of Contents
in Records. In
a message of 2/14/00, Mike Heckman writes: "Liner notes provide a
amount of Bixiana and might deserve a mention as sources of
Indeed, there is a lot of information in liners and, in particular, in
booklets associated with records or albums.
most notable booklet, included in the "Sincerely Bix" Sunbeam complete
set of Bix's recordings, is "Bix Beiderbecke: An Appreciation" by Chip
Deffaa. There is extensive biographical information with critiques and
interpretation. The booklet was expanded and is one of the chapters in
Deffaa's book "Voices of the Jazz Age".
the three-volume, 1950's Columbia set "The Bix Beiderbecke Story" were
written by George Avakian, record producer and jazz historian. They
priceless biographical and discographical information. George Avakian
wrote the liners for the 1940's Columbia Records Album Hot Jazz
Jazz As It Should Be Played, Bix Beiderbecke". In addition to
notes, the inside cover of the album has a copy of Bix's letter of
5, 1929 to Tommy Rockwell.
comes with the Time-Life Giants of Jazz set on Bix Beiderbecke. The
part of the booklet was written by Curtis Prendergast and has a very
text and gorgeous photographs. The notes on the music were written by
M. Sudhalter with his usual flair and insights.
Volume 2 of
"Bix Restored" includes a booklet entitled "Bix and His Gangs" by
Randy Skretvedt, editor of Past Times. Randy does something quite novel
here. Instead of recycling information about Bix, he writes "capsule
of some of Bix's compatriots". Each entry includes lots of information
in a concise manner.
by Marc Richard for the French 8-volume set of CDs of Bix's recordings
is very useful particularly from a discographical viewpoint. Monsieur
has interesting opinions and he is not shy about sharing them with the
As I come
other useful liners, I will add information about them here.
Through His Music, Bix
BRIEF TABLE OF CONTENTS
of Some Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Recordings Related to Bix