"Just a Little Guy"

"Just a Little Guy"

Brad Kay
Brad Kay

February 10th, 2012, 2:46 am #1

In his very absorbing interview in the 1944 booklet, Leo McConville said of Bix, "Sure, he usually had a bottle within hailing distance, but don't forget he was just a little guy and wasn't built to take it the way the rest of us were." Also: "He had always been frail, but now was putting on unhealthy weight, which due to his small stature, made him look much changed."

This is news to me. The accumulated impression I have of Bix is that in his prime, he was a hale bloke, about five feet ten, well-built, strong and coordinated, and quite athletic. And that he must have drunk enough for a legion to put himself away at the age of 28. But Leo McConville characterizes Bix as "little," "frail," and "of small stature." How can this be? Was McConville such a physical giant that everybody seemed little to him?

"Frail" conjures up the image of someone slightly built, under 5' 5" in height, and a hundred pounds dripping wet. I doubt that a truly frail person could have produced the amount of sound Bix emitted on his greatest records.

-Brad Kay
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 10th, 2012, 2:05 pm #2


Here is a photo of (left to right) Miff Mole, Bill Trone, Red Nichols and Leo McConville.



Leo was a small man, slightly shorter than Red. Look at who is he talking about Bix being "just a little guy"!!

Bix was about 5'10". Look at this photo of Friedman, Bix and Whiteman.



I estimate that Bix was a couple of inches shorter than Paul Whiteman who described himself in his WWI Draft Registration card as being 6 feet tall. 5'10" is also what Burnie told Evans. But he also told Evans Bix weighed 170 lbs!. Bix wrote to his mother on Oct 3, 1921 "When I got here [Lake Forest Academy] I weighed 137 - I now weigh 141."

Albert



 
Reply
Like
Share

Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

February 10th, 2012, 7:40 pm #3

In his very absorbing interview in the 1944 booklet, Leo McConville said of Bix, "Sure, he usually had a bottle within hailing distance, but don't forget he was just a little guy and wasn't built to take it the way the rest of us were." Also: "He had always been frail, but now was putting on unhealthy weight, which due to his small stature, made him look much changed."

This is news to me. The accumulated impression I have of Bix is that in his prime, he was a hale bloke, about five feet ten, well-built, strong and coordinated, and quite athletic. And that he must have drunk enough for a legion to put himself away at the age of 28. But Leo McConville characterizes Bix as "little," "frail," and "of small stature." How can this be? Was McConville such a physical giant that everybody seemed little to him?

"Frail" conjures up the image of someone slightly built, under 5' 5" in height, and a hundred pounds dripping wet. I doubt that a truly frail person could have produced the amount of sound Bix emitted on his greatest records.

-Brad Kay
I've had exactly the same confused thoughts, Brad. Mezz Mezzrow (not a big guy himself) in <em>Really the Blues</em>, p. 79) described Bix as "a rawboned, husky, farmboy kind of kid, a little above average height, and still growing."

Russ Morgan, in his unpublished memoir <em>Coaldust to Stardust,</em> described a physical encounter with a jealous guy who thought Bix, in his usual deep trance, was staring at his girlfriend. "Bix was a little fellow. He fell over like a mechanical doll that had suddenly run down. I picked him up...."

Bix is described by biographers, citing his brother Burnie's report, as about five feet ten inches tall and weighing between 170 and 180 pounds, not a man mountain, but probably a lttle bigger than the average for that part of the country, just as Mezz suggests. Photos certainly suggest the same conclusion.

Is this just another case of Bix's "shape-changing," his ability to look different at different times as he did in photos? I can see that if Bix was very thin, he might have looked "frail," to a big guy, but that's not what McConville is saying. Perhaps he only meant unhealthy or just not vigorous.

So, what to think?



Reply
Share

David Logue
David Logue

February 10th, 2012, 9:19 pm #4

In his very absorbing interview in the 1944 booklet, Leo McConville said of Bix, "Sure, he usually had a bottle within hailing distance, but don't forget he was just a little guy and wasn't built to take it the way the rest of us were." Also: "He had always been frail, but now was putting on unhealthy weight, which due to his small stature, made him look much changed."

This is news to me. The accumulated impression I have of Bix is that in his prime, he was a hale bloke, about five feet ten, well-built, strong and coordinated, and quite athletic. And that he must have drunk enough for a legion to put himself away at the age of 28. But Leo McConville characterizes Bix as "little," "frail," and "of small stature." How can this be? Was McConville such a physical giant that everybody seemed little to him?

"Frail" conjures up the image of someone slightly built, under 5' 5" in height, and a hundred pounds dripping wet. I doubt that a truly frail person could have produced the amount of sound Bix emitted on his greatest records.

-Brad Kay
I always was struck by how big Bix appeared in that photo of the Goldkette band playing at the zoo with the guy dancing in the monkey costume. Then again, it could be due to the perspective of the picture with Bix being the closest to the camera.
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 11th, 2012, 7:40 pm #5

Here is a photo of (left to right) Miff Mole, Bill Trone, Red Nichols and Leo McConville.



Leo was a small man, slightly shorter than Red. Look at who is he talking about Bix being "just a little guy"!!

Bix was about 5'10". Look at this photo of Friedman, Bix and Whiteman.



I estimate that Bix was a couple of inches shorter than Paul Whiteman who described himself in his WWI Draft Registration card as being 6 feet tall. 5'10" is also what Burnie told Evans. But he also told Evans Bix weighed 170 lbs!. Bix wrote to his mother on Oct 3, 1921 "When I got here [Lake Forest Academy] I weighed 137 - I now weigh 141."

Albert



 
.... by Miff, Trone, Red and Leo? Thanks.

Albert
Last edited by ahaim on February 11th, 2012, 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reply
Like
Share

Frank van Nus
Frank van Nus

February 12th, 2012, 3:59 pm #6


To me it seems as if Miff has a Holton trombone (I can't tell which bore... see http://rouses.net/trumpet/olds27/olds_27_17.htm ), Red holds a Conn Victor with an A tuning mechanism (I'll leave it to the Connoscenti to determine the exact model), and Leo's trumpet is a Bach Stradivarius. I have no idea about the make of Bill's mellophone.

Frank
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 12th, 2012, 10:35 pm #7


Is the Conn Victor held by Red a trumpet or a cornet?

Albert
Reply
Like
Share

Frank van Nus
Frank van Nus

February 12th, 2012, 10:53 pm #8


Most definitely, a cornet.

Frank
Reply
Share

Jamaica
Jamaica

February 13th, 2012, 10:48 pm #9

I've had exactly the same confused thoughts, Brad. Mezz Mezzrow (not a big guy himself) in <em>Really the Blues</em>, p. 79) described Bix as "a rawboned, husky, farmboy kind of kid, a little above average height, and still growing."

Russ Morgan, in his unpublished memoir <em>Coaldust to Stardust,</em> described a physical encounter with a jealous guy who thought Bix, in his usual deep trance, was staring at his girlfriend. "Bix was a little fellow. He fell over like a mechanical doll that had suddenly run down. I picked him up...."

Bix is described by biographers, citing his brother Burnie's report, as about five feet ten inches tall and weighing between 170 and 180 pounds, not a man mountain, but probably a lttle bigger than the average for that part of the country, just as Mezz suggests. Photos certainly suggest the same conclusion.

Is this just another case of Bix's "shape-changing," his ability to look different at different times as he did in photos? I can see that if Bix was very thin, he might have looked "frail," to a big guy, but that's not what McConville is saying. Perhaps he only meant unhealthy or just not vigorous.

So, what to think?


It's probably just a case of seeing someone's personality more clearly than their physicality. The way someone acts can make a clearer impression than their looks. The way most people describe Bix's personality as quiet, usually soft-spoken, dreamy, could easily colors someone's memories of him as being delicate, small, fragile.
Reply
Share

Chris Tyle
Chris Tyle

March 3rd, 2012, 9:59 am #10

Is the Conn Victor held by Red a trumpet or a cornet?

Albert
Albert,
Conn ONLY made Victor cornets up until the1950s, when they introduced a Victor trumpet.

The 80A is generally referred to as "the" Conn Victor cornet, although there were other models called "Victor."

Earlier Victor cornets all had the opera-glass tuning; the later models, other than the 80A, did not have the opera glass tuner even though they were called Victor. Seems rather confusing! But then Conn utilized model numbers - 80A, 10A, 8A, 38A - to differentiate. The 38A was the only model with a different Victor name - the Victor Special.

For more information, consult the Conn Loyalist webpagehttp://cderksen.home.xs4all.nl/index.html
Reply
Share