|Bix's House and the NRHP||The Plaque at 1600 Broadway||International Jazz Hall of Fame|
|Bix's Cornet||"Bix Lives", The Worshippers of Bix, The BBMJ B and, The BBMS||The Summer of 1926 at the Blue Lantern Casino at Hudson Lake|
|The Sweet and Hot Music Foundation Walk of Fame||The Bix Obituary in the Melody Maker||An Article in a Davenport Newspaper With a Short Interview of Bix's Mother (in preparation)|
|A New Glance at Bix's Funeral
Guest Contribution by Jean-Paul Lion and Rich Johnson
|A Letter from Bix to Nick LaRocca||The Solos of
Guest Contribution by Paul Bocciolone Strandberg
|Bismark Herman Beiderbecke on Bix's Music||A Discussion of Cornet Mouthpieces and Conn Victors Played by Bix.||University of Iowa Record of Bix Enrollment|
||When Did Bix Become Bix? (under construction
to Germany of Bismark and Agatha Beiderbecke
in "Essential Jazz Records" Wolverines
||Bix in "Essential Jazz Records" Bix Gang|
four references about the topic of Bix's cornets.
1. In Bix, The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story by Philip R. and Linda K. Evans, there is a detailed description of Bix's cornets, followed by an instructive discussion of the cornets by Ralph Norton.
2. Joe Giordano provides a detailed account of his visit to Davenport in the November 1976 issue of Jersey Jazz. Joe, Bix Shoemaker, Peter Shoemaker (Bix Shoemaker's nephew) and Dave (Bix Shoemakers' son's brother in law) drove from Newark, NJ to Davenport, IA to attend the 1976 Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Festival. They brought with them Bix's cornet. Joe describes his meetings in Davenport with Don O'Dette (President of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society at the time), Esten Spurrier (Bix's friend from high school days) and Gerry Jest (a Canadian who helped Brigitte Berman with her documentary film about Bix) and relates some of their discussions about Bix's cornet.
3. Jim Arpy has a very informative article about the return of Bix's cornet to Davenport in 1997 in http://www.qconline.com/bix/horn.html
4. There is an account of a gathering at the Christiansen's entitled The Night They Played Bix's Horn at
I thank Joe Giordano for helpful discussions and
generous gift of a copy of his article. I am grateful to Frank Manera
providing additional information about the whereabouts of the cornet.
image of the cornet is by courtesy of Enrico Borsetti. Last, but not
I am indebted to Robert Christiansen for his gracious and detailed
to my unending questions.
I am indebted to Joe Giordano for his invaluable help and for his patience in answering my questions.I am grateful to Don Robertson, editor of Jersey Jazz, for a gift of a copy of Joe's article.
former may be more effective than the latter). One must remember that the true cornet consisted of an almost entirely conical tubing that was mated to a conical mouthpiece which bore more resemblance to the French horn mouthpiece than to the bowl-shaped trumpet mouthpiece. The early cornet which combined the conical tubing with the conical mouthpiece, produced, in the hands of a good player, a beautiful, velvety, non-directional tone but with very little carrying brilliance. The “modern” cornet, which has been given a greater percentage of cylindrical tubing to increase its projection, is usually mated to a bowl-shaped mouthpiece like that of a trumpet. This results in very little distinction between the tone quality of the cornet and the trumpet.
There is a contingent of traditional jazz players who insist upon the correctness of the cornet, but I must note that I have never found a “modern” cornetist, playing in this genre, using a true cornet V shaped mouthpiece. Without exception, they all use the bowl-shaped mouthpiece. Bowl-shaped cornet mouthpieces were introduced by Vincent Bach in the mid 20's; they are longer (7 cm) and give more projection and brilliance to the tone. Vintage cornet mouthpieces (not Bach) prior to 1930 like Conn, York, Boosey, Holton, Buescher, King, are lighter in weight; they are all V shaped and
between 5,2 and 6,2 cm in length (I have a drawer full of vintage and current mouthpieces). I realize that the size of Bach mouthpieces vary with years: a vintage Bach trumpet mouthpiece number 5 or 7 is smaller in size and diameter than a 5 or a 7 made today; also the “throat” and the shape of the backbore is different, as I have measured using a digital caliper and other proper tools. I personally checked Bix’s Bach Stradivarius cornet ten years ago (thanks to Bob and Eva Christiansen) and it comes with a vintage 7 Bach mouthpiece (not a 7A like someone said in the forum).
I thank Rich Johnson for the
he provided and for giving me permission to include a portion of his
in the above account.
Sweet and Hot Music Foundation Walk of Fame
In the May 2002 issue of "Jazz Me News," Don Mospick writes, "The Sweet and Hot
Foundation has dedicated a series of beautiful commemorative plaques that are
permanently imbedded in the concrete around the poolside area of the L.A. Marriott Airport
Hotel. The tradition, launched during the first Sweet and Hot Music Festival in 1996, was
established to acknowledge the work of musicians and composers who have contributed to
America's Golden Age of popular music."
in 1996 were Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Benny
Goodman. In 1997, the jazz musicians honored with a bronze plaque in the "Sweet and Hot
Music Foundation Walk of Fame" were Bix Beiderbecke, Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and
Thomas "Fats" Waller." For a complete list of inductees, go to
http://www.sweethot.org/walk.html To see what was written about Bix when he was
inducted, go to http://www.sweethot.org/bix.html
I am indebted to Wally Holmes, director of the Sweet and Hot Music Festival, for permission to post the images, to Don Dade for kindly sending the scans, and to Gordon for his overall help.
Bix Obituary in the Melody Maker.
The Melody Maker issue of September 1931 carried an obituary about Bix. Enrico Borsetti scanned the page from the magazine and kindly sent to me for uploading it here. Scroll down until you see the article. Note that an incorrect date -August 7, 1931- is given. The correct date is August 6, 1931.
A New Glance At Bix's Funeral
Guest contribution by Jean Pierre Lion and Rich Johnson
Information about Bix’s funeral in Davenport is available, so far, in the two key books about our musician: “Bix, Man & Legend” by Richard M. Sudhalter and Philip Evans and “The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story” by Philip Evans and Linda Evans.
The first book informs us that
was buried the following Tuesday [August 11, 1931] after the largest
in the city’s memory. Radio station WOC devoted the day to Bix’s
(..). But not a single jazz musician or friend of Bix’s walked among
men who carried the coffin down the gravel drive in brilliant Iowa
‘There was only one musician – from a wealthy family – in the lot’,
Wayne Rohlf. ‘He was a longhair violonist and orchestra conductor named
Bill Henigbaum. The rest of the pallbearers were wealthy friends of the
family, some of society’s upper crust. They were either selected by
[Burnie] or by Bix’s folks.” (pages 334-5).
The names of five pallbearers are given on page 399 : George Von Maur, Louis Best, Karl Vollmer Jr., William Henigbaum Jr. and Dr. John Wormley.
Published 25 years later, the
book is much less “lyrical” and it reads :
"Aug. 9 (Sun) – Bix’s body arrived by train in Davenport at 10:30 p.m. His remains were taken to Hill & Fredericks mortuary (Brady at 13th), where he lay in state.
Aug 11 (Tue) – Services were held this morning at 11 o’clock at the Hill & Fredericks chapel with the Rev. Leroy Coffman of the First Presbyterian Church officiating. Private burial services were held at the grave in Oakdale Cemetery."
The names of six pallbearers are given: the above five ones and Richard Von Maur. (page 549).
Page 550 gives the names of “Friends Who Called”: a limited list of nine persons.
One of us (JPL) wanted to know more about this ceremony, and the first question was: who were these people calling and attending? When asking about Bix and Davenport, the best door to knock on is, of course, Rich Johnson’s. What we found out follows.
* Tal Sexton and wife. He was a musician, living in Rock Island, IL, and he was the trombone player with the Carlisle Evans band in Davenport in 1921 (his picture is on page 50 of “Bix, Man & Legend”).
* Ernie Bieberback = Ernest A. Bieberbach. He died in 1969 in Davenport, age 66, and was a “Mississippi riverboat trombonist. He and his brother Bill played with such riverboat bands as Minnie Fitzgerald and her Tropical Jazz Band, and the Burke-Leins Novelty Orchestra on the excursion steamer Capitol.”
* Tex Wright. He is probably Foster H. Wright, also a musician living in Rock Island,
* ? “Babe”. Unidentified person.
* Lewis M. Bruhn = Louis Bruhn, pianist with the Jimmy Hicks orchestra in December 1929,
* Trave O’Hearn. Well known local band leader; Bix played with his orchestra in Davenport in December 1929.
* William T. Bieberback. Ernest’s brother (see above) ; “Bill Bieberbach, a professional trumpet player, who was often host to Bix Beiderbecke, died in 1965.”
All these visitors were musicians and Bix’s personal friends, even if only in limited number.
* George Von Maur. Sec. Treasurer for Henry Von Maur, Inc.; George Von Maur is featured among the persons interviewed by Jim Arpy for his Quad-City Times’ article, “People who knew Bix”. He was older than Bix, and his parents knew Bix’s folks.
* Richard Von Maur: Treasurer for the JHC Petersen Co., a big department-store in Davenport’s 2nd Street, located next to Robert Krause Co. Bix’s brother, Charles ‘Burnie’, was at a time in charge of its music-department. Petersen-Von Maur still owns major stores in Davenport today.
* Karl Vollmer. VP of Motor Service Inc., his father was a doctor. Bix refers to him in a letter to his mother, dated May 7, 1920, where he wrote: “tonight I’m taking Vera L.C. to the R.I. Class play with Karlie Vollmer”,
* William K. Henigbaum. Treasurer of Iowa Furniture / Huebotter Furniture Co. He was born in 1897 (died in 1979) and a close friend of ‘Burnie’ and his wife Mary. His son, William Henigbaum, born in 1921, is the “longhair violonist” mentioned in “Bix, Man & Legend”. He did not attend the funeral and lives today in North Carolina, where he still teaches violin students.
* Dr. John Wormley. He was a prominent Davenport dentist, and was in his late 40’s at that time. He was probably a friend of Bix’s parents.
These pallbearers were definitely belonging to the Davenport “upper class”, all members of the selected Outing Club (where the wedding of Bix’s sister had taken place in 1924).
Les Swanson is today 97. He remembers quite well the ceremony at the Hill & Fredericks’ chapel. Some fifty to sixty persons attended the service, almost exclusively men. Les was surprised not to meet with any other musicians, as he expected Esten Spurrier, at least, to be there… and he was not. Les stayed by himself, at the rear of the chapel, and left after the ceremony, speaking to no one. Burial services at the cemetery were private and limited to family’s members. The local radio-station did pay a short tribute to Bix : during a dance-broadcast, a text was read and pianist Bert Sloan played “In A Mist”. And that was it! It was hardly “the largest funeral in the city’s memory”…!
Searching for these elements, Rich Johnson was able to unearth new information related to Bix.
The following letter was
by Bix Beiderbecke on Monday, 22nd Nov., 1922, on the
train from Chicago to Davenport. It is addressed to Mr. D. Jas LaRocca, 225 West 11th St.,
New York City, N.Y. We have included a transcript of the text on the next two pages,
including the post-script which we were unable to reproduce in its entirety.
From Storyville No. 9 (Feb-March 1967) pages 29-31. Also transcribed in Evans and Evans, Bix: The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story, p. 122.
Am on my way home from Chi thot Id take the opportunity to write you the dope.
I saw Mike Fritzel last night
he seemed impressed when I told him about you boys
wanting to come to Chi and that you would consider the Friars Inn if everything – "Do" and
hours were satisfactory – I sure poured it on thick. Well Nick Mike wanted to know the dope
in regard to the money you boys wanted etc. and I said that you would write him the full
particulars that I just didn't know. All I knew was that you were the best lead in the
country. Well he expects a letter from you Nick. I'm sending your address to him so he can
wire you – I was supposed to meet him today at 3'clock I left early so I left your address
addressed to him at Friars.
You write him about what
you'll have and everything else. I told him that you
just made a record which pleased him – His adddress is Mike Fritzel, Friars Inn. Chi.
Well Nick I wish you the best
luck – give the boys my best and tell that clarinette player
to expect some "do" right soon & also tell him he's the best boy I've ever met.
Rapollo & the band are
in about a week they aren't going to New York for a while –
Also sends you Eddie & Tony his regards.
I am grateful to Fredrik Tersmeden for sending me a copy of the letter.
The Solos of Bix - Keys
Guest Contribution by Paul Bocciolone Strandberg
I Didn't Know
Singin' the Blues
Jazz Me Blues
Cryin' All Day
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Somebody Stole My Gal
Forget Me Not
You Took Advantage Of Me
That's My Weakness Now
Out of Town Gal
Bless You Sister
Ol' Man River
High Up On a Hill Top
Raisin' the Roof
I Like That
Oh! Miss Hannah
Proud of a Baby Like You
Riverboat Shuffle (2)
Three Blind Mice (1)
There Ain't No Land
Just an Hour of Love
Three Blind Mice (2)
Back in Your Own Backyard
Because My Baby Don't Mean Maybe Now
No One Can Take Your Place
Barnacle Bill the Sailor
Jazz Me Blues (1)
Riverboat Shuffle (1)
I'm Coming Virginia
There Ain't No Sweet Man
Love Nest, The (1)
Love Nest, The (2)
Baby Won't You Please Come Home
Reaching For Someone
I Don't Mind Walking In the Rain
I'll Be a Friend with Pleasure
I Need Some Pettin'
Royal Garden Blues (1)
Royal Garden Blues (2)
Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down
There'll Come a Time
From Monday On
Strut Miss Lizzie
There's a Cradle in Caroline
Felix the Cat
Tain't So Honey, 'tain't So
Deep Down South
Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
Our Bungalow Of Dreams
Waiting At the End Of the Road
The solos of Bix are played in the following keys:
I did not count alternate
or re-recordings of the same arrangement (From Monday On). Of course,
is a solo is not scientifically defined in this context. I consider the
first chorus of "Ol' Man River" as a solo for Bix, as well as the verse
on "A Good Man Is Hard To Find". On the other hand, I don't count his ad
lib playing on "I'm Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover" or "In My
Oldsmobile" as solos.
The reason that some keys are more comfortable than others depends on the tuning of the instrument. Since most musicians use Bb-tuned instruments -such as trumpet, clarinet and tenor sax- the five most common keys in jazz are Bb, Eb, F, Ab and C. The oddest in the above list is the solo in D natural on "Waiting at the End of the Road". Neither Bix nor his colleagues where limited to play in certain keys. In Bix's case he got a good training to improvise and formulate his musical ideas in any key from playing along with records. By adjusting the speed he could practice his cornet in the new keys that resulted from this. It is said in the Sudhalter-Evans biography that he preferred the key of Eb on the cornet but this he had in common with many others and many popular melodies as well as military and classical music fit with the cornet in this key. The choice of key normally depends on the range of the instrument and the range of the song that is going to be played; but when it comes to improvising freely, the facility of fingering and the response of the instrument on certain notes may have big importance for the performer.
In most cases Bix had no influence over the choice of key when a stock-arrangement was recorded and when he only had a short solo to play in a big band arrangement. In many cases the key of a tune is fixed as when you play standard tunes like Royal Garden Blues (solo in Bb), China Boy (F), and Tiger Rag (Ab)
We can note some examples when he changed keys from the common ones. "Jazz Me Blues" was changed from F as with The Wolverines to Eb when he was in charge of his own "gang". From ODJB he changed the key of Margie from F to Eb also. The early recording of "Riverboat Shuffle" was in F while the one he made with Trumbauer contained a solo in Ab.
In some tunes the intentions of the composer are respected; this results in performing in less common keys, as for example "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" (G) or "Goose Pimples" (Db). This shows that Bix and his session mates did not change key to facilitate matters, which has often been the case in latter days performances of the original jazz.
(About Bix's piano playing it is said that he preferred to play everything in C, but from there he would make excursions anywhere and use all kinds of colorings. He probably did not often do a full performance in public on the piano and thus did not need to use different keys for variation.)
I am grateful to Paul for choosing to publish his analysis of the keys of Bix's solos in the Bixogrphy. February 4, 2003.
Herman Beiderbecke on Bix's Music
The accepted dogma in Bixology is that Bix had poor relations with his father. I do not
agree, but that is a question that I will address in the future, not in the present post. What
is clear is that Evans and Evans provide no information about what Herman had to say
about Bix's music and his life. There is one exception that I can remember. It has to do with
the time when Marty Bloom hired Bix to play with the Orpheum Time Band Revue. According
to Bloom (E & E, p. 110-111), around May 24, 1922 the band was rehearsing when Bix's
father appeared. Following a conversation between Bix and his father, Bix told Bloom, "I'm
sorry to do this to you, but I've got to go back to Davenport, today with my father." There
are a couple of letters from Bix to his father, but I can't think of an account of Bismark
talking about Bix's music.
The February 16, 1938 issue of "The New Republic"
an article -Swing Music- by
Charles Edward Smith. In the article, Smith discusses the origins of jazz. As he mentions
various musicans, Smith writes the following about Bix,
"He had proved a natural genius to start with,
an unerring tonal and rhythmic sense.
And so, about the time King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band was sending them at a Chicago drink
and dance place, this young man was setting up to capture the world as the ad-libbing
genius of the Original Wolverines. He arrived on the big time with Jean Goldkette's
sensational band, and when that broke up went to Whiteman. Contrary to popular opinion,
he could read and write music, but -since he improvised and since Whiteman by his own
statement was aware that Bix could get more music into three notes than all the rest of
the band in a full chorus- he was given blank spaces to play while with the Whiteman
orchestra. When Bix came home, his father reported afterwards, he would talk so much
about his admiration for the work of such other musicians as Red Nichols and Hoagy
Carmichael that the folks never realized his own superlative qualities and fame.
The statement attributed to Bix's father is very
It shows, for the first time I
believe, that Bix's father knew some names of jazz musicians and talked about Bix and his
fellow musicians to someone, jazz historians perhaps? One of the names is not surprising
at all, that of Hoagy. We know of the long and close friendship of Hoagy and Bix. Red
Nichols' name may be surprising to some, especially since there are accounts of Bix making
negative comments about Red's musicianship. However, it is clear that Bix and Red were
good friends. They met in 1924, they roomed and drank together in subsequent years, and
one of the last phone calls -if not the last- that Bix made in his much too short life was to
Finally, it is relevant, in the context of the
thread about Bix's reading skills, what
Smith has to say on the subject. Unfortunately, Smith simply makes the assertion about Bix
being able to read and write music, but provides no references.
Bix enrolled at the University
of Iowa in the Spring Semester 1925. His tenure in school did not last
long: just 18 days, from February 2 to February 20, 1925. What follows
is the only extant document in the archives of the University of Iowa.
The document is practically illegible. Here is the information of interest.
A few comments.
1. Note that Bix give his year of birth as 1904. Error on Bix's part or on the part of the person who typed the form? Done by Bix on Purpose?
2. Bix gives only the Davenport High School as "Institutions Previously Attended." Bix fails to mention his year in Lake Forest Academy. Oversight? Concealed on purpose?
3. The course schedule is slightly different from the one given in Evans and Evans.
A Myth A Myth A Myth
Let's go back a couple of years to the Tribute to Bix of 1999 in Libertyville. On the Saturday of the meeting, Phil Pospychala showed a large photo of Bix found in a flea market in Florida. Some people thought that the photo could be an alternate pose of the photo taken in Davenport in 1921. I had seen that photo in the inside cover of Klaus Scheuer's "Bix Beiderbecke: Sein Leben, Sein Musik, Sein Schallplatten." The photo was not a portrait of Bix. It was a close-up enlargement of Bix from a photo with the Wolverines taken in Cincinnati in 1924. To see the photo of the Wolverines, go to
You will see Bix in the center and slightly to the right of the photo, in a pose very similar to the alleged 1921 photo. I left Libertyville early on Sunday, and, as soon as arrived home, I sent Phil a fax with the photo of Bix from Scheuer's book and the explanation that the Wolverines photo was cropped and enlarged to look like a portrait of Bix. I assumed that the similarity between what I thought was the 1921 photo and the photo of Bix enlarged from the Wolverine photo was due to Bix's propensity to sit in a certain way and to hold his cornet in his right hand and resting on his right leg. However, Fred message convinced me that what we know as the 1921 Davenport photo was, in fact, taken in 1924 in Cincinnati, probably within minutes of the photo of the Wolverine orchestra.
To see the so-called 1921 photo side by side with the enlargement of the cropped photo of the Wolverines, go to
For a different view go to
Fred provides the following analysis of the two photos. "Here are the two Bix photos in question side by side at about the same size. Even with the different printing processes, they are almost identical. The left photo is a solo so Bix is more engaging with the camera. The body language is very similar as he's spread outa little and turned somewhat to his left. In the right hand shot he's a little crowded, pulled in his leg, has unbuttoned his coat, put his fingers around the valves and clenched his other hand. The cuffs have the same cut and flair out. The hankie is almost the same shape. The tie is crooked in both and has the exact same wrinkles. The collar over the tie is the same in each photo and the way the tie is exposed around the neck. The jacket sleeves are way too long and bunched up and wrinkled in the same exact folds. It's more apparent in the stand up shot holding the banner. The vest is forcing up the shirt in the same manner with identical central white line. The way the horn bell sits on his knee is in the exact same position. The wrinkles in his crotch and the way the light hits them are the same. For these two photos to have been taken three years apart is hard for me to believe."
I think Fred's analysis and comparison of the two photos provides a compelling argument for the inference that they were taken on the same day, minutes apart. Since, we know the date of the Wolverine photo (1924, in Cincinnati, ), the inescapable conclusion is that the famous photo of Bix was also taken in 1924.
There is some supporting evidence for this conclusion. In his book "The Stardust Road", Hoagy Carmichael includes, between pages 122 and 123, the famous photo of Bix with his cornet. The caption reads, "Bix (Leon ) Beiderbecke. Photograph taken about 1924." In his book "Twelve Lives in Jazz", Duncan Schiedt provides a good quality copy and writes the caption, "The classic Beiderbecke portrait, probably taken in 1922, either in Davenport, or (more probably) in Chicago." In their book "A Pictorial History of Jazz", Keepnews and Grauer write the following caption for the famous photo, "Leon 'Bix' Beiderbecke in 1923."
Where does the myth come from? Fritz Putzier wrote to Phil Evans on 4/18/73, "Probably the most appropriate photo would be the one taken with Bix the day we had on our tuxedos, prior to going to Moline toplay for he opening of the bank [August 30, 1921;ed.]. I wish I could remember what possessed us to do such a thing, neither of us were show-offs. I don't remember any pending occasion that required the use of our picturs. Perhaps it was a youthful, enthusiastic whim and a feeling of importance, all dressed up in tuxedos. It prompted one of us, probably me, knowing Bix as I did, to suggest a picture." (Evans and Evans; Bix: The Leon Beiderbecke Story, p.62). The account in Sudhalter and Evans' "Bix: Man and Legend" goes as follows. " Bix, meanwhile was keeping only too busy. Ralph Miedke hired him for the grand opening on Tuesday, August 30, of the Moline State Trust and Savings Bank. The band was scheduled to play form 1 to 6 P. M., and for the first time in his life the younger Beiderbecke had to wear a tuxedo. "How do I look, mother?' he asked, turning in the bedroom miror. Aggie, full of doubt over her son's future, had nevertheless to admit that he cut a handsome figure. Bix took the stairs two at a time, stopping only to grab his cornet. 'Where are you off to?' his mother asked, puzzled. "It's only nine in the morning, and you don't have to play for another four hours.' Bix laughed. ' Fritz [Putzier, ed.] and I are going to have our pictures taken in these li'l ol' fancy suits.' And out the door he bounded. The photograph taken that August morning in 1921 has become the model by which Bix Beiderbecke is now recognized." The photos of Fritz Spurrier and Bix are given in the page opposite the text, courtesy of Fritz Putzier. Clearly, the story comes for Fritz.
Two final points. Fred writes, "The lighting on the Putzier picture is totally different." Indeed, they are. There are few photos of Bix from 1921, 1922. They can be found in pages 101-103, 106, 107, 113-115 of Evans and Evans. No photos are available in 1923. The 1922 photos are of poor quality. Nevertheless, I believe I can tell that Bix did not part his hair at that time.
All in all, it seems clear to me that the famous photo of Bix,
accepted to have been taken in Davenport in 1921, was taken in 1924,
The following is a photo (without Bix) of the Ralph Miedke
I thank Frederick C. Wiebel, Jr. for the scan of the photos of
by side, and Rich Johnosn for the scans of the photos of the Moline
Bank and of the Miedke band.
The Trips to Germany of Louise Beiderbecke and of Agatha and Bismark Beiderbecke. (Uploaded Nov 17, 2006)
Bix's grandparents were Carl Beiderbecke (changed his first name to Charles) and Louisa Pieper (changed to Louise Piper). Charles was born in Westphalia, Prussia in 1836. and died in Davenport in 1901. Louise was born in Hamburg, Prussia in 1840 and died in 1922 in Davenport while Bix had an engagement in Syracuse. Charles and Louise came to America in 1853, but in different ships and at different times of the year. Charles and Louise went to Davenport in 1856, but not at the same time. They met in Davenport and got married in 1860. They built their home at 532 W. 7th Street in 1880. Louise lived in the home she and Charles built until her death in 1922.
Charles and Louise had four children: Carl Thomas, Ottilie, Bismark Herman, and Lutie. Bismark was Bix's father.
visited Germany in 1907. She was accompanied by her son Carl. They came
back on the Grosser
Kurfurst which arrived in New York on September 17, 1907. Both
Louise and Carl are described as US citizens. Carl's name is actually
Charles. Here are the passenger's records for Charles and Louise from
the Ellis Island records..
|First Name:||Charles T.|
|Last Place of Residence:|
|Date of Arrival:||Sep 17, 1907|
|Age at Arrival: 42y Gender: M Marital Status:|
|Ship of Travel:||Grosser Kurfurst|
|Port of Departure:||Cherbourg, France|
|Last Place of Residence:|
|Date of Arrival:||Sep 17, 1907|
|Age at Arrival: 67y Gender: F Marital Status: M|
|Ship of Travel:||Grosser Kurfurst|
|Port of Departure:||Cherbourg, France|
|Manifest Line Number:||0003|
makes sense that Louise wished to see her native country and relatives.
She had come to the US as a 13-year old girl. By 1907, she had been in
the US for 54 years. Her husband had died six years earlier and she had
an excellent financial situation. In 1907, Louise was 67 years old, and
it makes sense that she would not want to undertake the long trip
overseas by herself. Thus, her oldest son Carl Thomas accompanied her.
1930, Carl visited Germany again. This time he went with his wife
Adele, his brother Bismark and his sister in law Agatha. Here is the
listing from Ancestry.com
Note the misspellings in
Bismark's first name and middle initial (should be H). Also Carl's
middle initial is misspelled (should be T). One more minor point.
Carl's birth date is given as 24 Dec 1864. Evans and Evans give 24 Dec
1865. Here is the original manifest.
The two Beiderbecke
brothers and their wives left Hamburg, Germany on the S.S. Cleveland
and arrived in New York on 11 Aug 1930. We see that Bismark's and
Agatha's destination was New York, whereas Carl's and Adele's
destination was Boston.
The S.S. Cleveland was
one of the ships of the Hamburg America Line. Built in 1908, it
made its maiden voyage Hamburg-Southampton-Cherbourg-New York
on Mar 29, 1909.
Here is a postcard with an
image of the S.S. Cleveland.
When Bix's parents arrived
in New York, Bix was a member of the Camel Pleasure Hour Orchestra. Bix
had been with the Camel Pleasure Hour since its premiere on June 4,
1930. It is not known when Bix's parents left New York for Germany.
Presumably sometime in July. It is highly likely that Bix's parents
visited his son on their way to Germany as well as on their return from
Germany. There is corroborating evidence that indeed Bix's parents
visited Bix. According to Sudhalter and Evans, "Even Bismark and
Agatha, encouraged at this turn of events, made the long journey east
to visit their son during a broadcast in NBC's studio B on Fifth
Avenue. Bix, John Wiggin recalled, took speical pride in introducing
his parents to the friends on the show." John Wiggin was the producer
of the Camel Pleasure Hour. Bix's parents visit during one of the
broadcasts could have taken place either as they were on their way to
Germany or on their way back, in July-August 1930.
I am grateful to German Bixophile Friedrich Hachenberg [Acknowledgment. I wish to thank Karl Gert zur heide.].for kindly and generously sending me all the information about Bix's parents visit to Germany in 1930.
Bix In "Essential Jazz Records"
From "Essential Jazz Records, Vol.
1: Ragtime to Swing" by Max Harrison, Eric Thacker and
Charles Fox, Mansell, 1999.
Review of the Wolverine
of the Bix and His Gang Records
Through His Music, Bix Is Alive
BRIEF TABLE OF CONTENTS
|A Brief Biography||Articles in Magazines||The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society|
|Bix's Musical Genius||Video Tapes||Items of Special Interest|
|Biographies||Audio Tapes||Information of Related Interest|
|Chapters in Books||Museums||A Stamp for Bix in 2003|
|Scholarly Dissertations||Miscellaneous||Links to Related Sites|
|Obituaries||Readers' Queries and Remarks||Celebration of Bix's Musical Legacy|
The Original 78's
Analysis of Some Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Complete Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Tributes to Bix
Miscellaneous Recordings Related to Bix
In A Mist