Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

August 7th, 2018, 4:17 pm #11

Certainly, alcoholism generates an isolation and separation that can be devastating. But Bix seems to have leaned back against that, and sustained friendships and intimate relationships as best he could.

And, many of Bix's contemporaries were almost as impaired as he was. But THEY survived long enough to leave less mysterious legacies. Armstrong wasn't an alcohlic, but what sense of him would we have if he had died at 28? Let alone Bix's hard-drinking cohort: Dorsey, Carmichael, Condon, Spanier etc.
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Joined: March 24th, 2018, 11:32 pm

August 7th, 2018, 5:30 pm #12

I'm not so sure Teachout is totally off-base. Aside from his family, a couple of more-or-less serious girlfriends and Frank Trumbauer (with whom Bix seemed to have what modern-day screenwriters call a "bromance," a non-sexual but emotionally intense friendship), Bix doesn't seem to have been that close to too many people. A lot of people who knew him well wrote that Bix never seemed to be "part of the crowd" no matter how many photos there are of him with his bandmates. Remember that Teachout is also a biographer of Louis Armstrong, who was as dramatically different from Bix in his open gregariousness and love of the company of other people as he was as a musician.

I'm surprised John Coffin bought into the legend (created by Tommy Dorsey and George Simon in the 1930's) that the only reason two of the four tunes planned for the "Bix and His Rhythm Jugglers" date weren't released was the musicians were too drunk to perform properly. Phil Evans' discography, which quotes from the original Gennett recording files, makes it clear that the two sides that weren't released were rejected for technical, not musical, reasons.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 11:08 pm

August 8th, 2018, 6:42 pm #13

I couldn't download Albert's lecture, me and computers, but I don't think we should leave this thread with it leaving the impression Bix was somehow limited or inadequate. Especially when I think all my other favourite musical geniuses have similar stories told about them. It's like these guys were very conscious of the gift they were endowed with, worked like madmen to develop it, avoided distractions sometimes creating misinterpretations or misfortunes, and did whatever they could to give this precious gift to the world; lifting colleagues and listeners alike with the glory of it. You see, as noted, in some of Albert's pictures Bix looks three sheets, but still on the records music is always sacred and he's always spot on. The only exception I know; with its special circumstances, is the mighty Sugar; which so shocks so  many golden ears they refuse to accept it could be Bix. I see from a recent YouTube Messrs Coffin and Eekoff  have joined the dark side with Hans blaming it o the hapless Don Murray. Now cut that out, Hans! ha ha.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:05 am

August 8th, 2018, 9:12 pm #14

Far better to accept the word "opaque" and move on.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 11:08 pm

August 9th, 2018, 1:59 am #15

No never Cosca. I know you're sharp as a tack, but you're dead wrong here. The man was on a mission, how can you say otherwise. I'm sure I remember reading his contemporaries saying he only cared about music and getting it right. You'd never call his music opaque, why would the person who made it, be so?. And moving on? No more biographies? That's how us mortals walk with the gods, by learning of and studying the lives and works of the great contributors to our lives.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

August 9th, 2018, 4:43 pm #16

Well, Dorsey was an actual witness... Bix was impaired on the job enough for the 'Wake up Bix' note in Margulis' trumpet 'book.'

No one who is 'lazy' is going to master any brass instrument as well as Bix did. 

I was struck by the quote from Manone in Albert's powerpoint. It was as if he resented Bix wanting to do more than play generic 'hot.' At least some of Bix's oddball reputation can be laid to the notion that he was head and shoulders above most of his contemporaries. 

There IS a strangeness around Bix. The letters about 'Alice' are certainly disturbing in their evasiveness.
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