Leon Bix Beiderbecke, 10 March 1903, Davenport, Iowa, USA, d. 6 August 1931, New York City, New York, USA. One of the legends of jazz, a role he would doubtless have found wryly amusing had he lived to know of it, Bix Beiderbecke entered music when he began picking out tunes on piano and cornet at the age of 15. Inspired by records of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and by hearing bands on the Mississippi riverboats, Beiderbecke broke away from his middle-class, middle-American family background (an act for which his family appeared never to have forgiven him) and by 1923 was already achieving fame with the Wolverines. In New York and Chicago, Beiderbecke played with dance bands but spent his free time listening to the leading black musicians of the day, notably Louis Armstrong and King Oliver. In 1926 he worked with Frank Trumbauer, both men moving on to the bands of Jean Goldkette and Paul Whiteman, whom they joined in 1928. Throughout his time with these two...
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