“Beiderbecke shunned close personal relations of any kind.”

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

August 4th, 2018, 11:41 pm #1

A quote from "Homage to Bix" by Terry Teachout 
Commentary Magazine September 2005
“Beiderbecke shunned close 
personal relations of any kind.”
Pure, unadulterated bs.
A picture is worth 1000 words.
1.jpg -2.JPG 3.JPG 4.JPG 5.JPG 6.JPG bixtramlast1.jpg
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Joined: March 29th, 2018, 12:06 pm

August 5th, 2018, 6:41 am #2

awesome research, Albert - I'm stunned !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Joined: March 16th, 2018, 10:44 am

August 6th, 2018, 8:21 am #3

Not only stunned, but now dismissed into the utter darkness.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

August 6th, 2018, 10:04 pm #4

It is a strange declaration. Certainly people seem to have remarked on Bix being 'dreamy' and/or absentminded. Alcohol could account for almost all such impressions. He certainly seems to have been friendly and close with colleagues like Don Murry and Trumbauer
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:43 pm

August 6th, 2018, 11:19 pm #5

Does anyone know how tall Bix was?  I believe men's average height was a bit shorter almost 100 years ago than today. I hope
that somewhere in the many books and articles about him, his height is given.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 6th, 2018, 11:43 pm #6

According to his brother, Bix was about 5 ft 10 in.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 11:08 pm

August 7th, 2018, 2:31 am #7

It seems an extreme statement, but I don't think you have to call it bs. Showing a picture of Tommy Dorsey hardly proves that. You hear of many artists living in an inner life of their own beauty and creativity with a protective shell about them to exclude the outside world and allow them to pursue their art. That was speculated on here in the past, I'm sure I remember, if not the details, with people who knew Bix ,noting his distance, and feeling that none could get close enough to really know the man. Ther was Aloha with his camera but Bix always hiding in bed all day. I remember Bradski  even wondering if Bix had a bit of Asbergers or some such.

 I tried to find that documentary of the US in WW1, it's chilling, those violent times, but it's not on YouTube. Woodrow Wilson did what he had to to save the free world, but it included, I guess by necessity, a lot of anti German fervour. Warnings of German sedition and arrests in the papers, advisements of staying vigilant against German people, one town even massacred all its German breed pet dogs. Imagine bringing in your man's best friend pet dog to get slaughtered in the town square , just to avoid being named a German sympathizer. I don't know how bad it got in Bix' neck of the woods, but pretty scary stuff for a fifteen year old and a good excuse to retreat into your own world especially if you're already hearing the call of the muse. Kudos to Bix that he took the rebel defiant stance even if it led to maybe unhappy day to day existence and early death.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 4:56 pm

August 7th, 2018, 3:40 am #8

The images clearly show Bix being comfortable in close company. Of course, men weren't obsessively 'macho' in his day. The default was probably more comfortable in close company with other boys/men than someone his age would be now.

Of course, in some pictures, he may be half in the bag, the 'Rhythm Jugglers' recording session only completed two of the four planned tunes...they were too drunk to complete the session. And 'hiding in bed' is a good description of a toxic hangover.

I suspect that a lot of Bix's 'distance' or 'unreachability' was just him being more inebriated than the rest of the crowd. Or suffering the after effects when everyone else was feeling reasonably well.
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:05 am

August 7th, 2018, 5:09 am #9

John Coffin wrote: It is a strange declaration.
Not really. It's a single sentence from Terry Teachout's review of Jean Pierre Lion's BIX book. it's based on the book. Here's the section in question. Works better in context.

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But racial politics is not the only reason why scholars have paid more attention to Armstrong than to Beiderbecke. Not only was Louis Armstrong a great musician, but he was also a gifted writer of prose who had a passion for self-revelation. In two published memoirs, dozens of magazine and newspaper articles, and hundreds of letters and other autobiographical documents, he gave free rein to his outgoing personality. Beiderbecke, by contrast, was a shy, comparatively inarticulate man whose 44 surviving letters are for the most part unrevealing, and his friends and colleagues all claimed to find him hard to know on anything beyond a purely casual basis.

Their puzzlement was understandable enough. An alcoholic who drank himself to death at the age of twenty-eight, Beiderbecke shunned close personal relations of any kind: in the words of the cornetist Jimmy McPartland, “Bix was a mystery to us. We all knew him, admired him, thought he was a great guy. But, in a way, we didn't know him at all.”
*************************
Others who've indicated they didn't "know" Bix include Hoagy Carmichael, Max Kaminsky, Wingy Manone, etc. If you look at the originals of the letters Philip Evans quoted, nearly all of them say, "Well, I didn't really know Bix..." 

I've had many an exchange with Terry over the years and his admiration for Bix's music is unquestioned. A favorite word of his for Bix's personality - and I think it's a good one - is "opaque". In my view, that's what allows so many folks to recreate Bix in their own image. 
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 7th, 2018, 3:29 pm #10

I covered this subject in depth in the lecture I presented at the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, Davenport, July 25, 2008. .

Bix: The Man, Not the Legend
A Lecture by Albert Haim 
Davenport IA  July 25, 2008 

Dedicated to Rich Johnson  Friend, Bixophile 
One of the Very Finest Gentlemen I Have Ever Met 


http://bixbeiderbecke.com/PowerPointPre ... 08post.ppt
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