Monday, August 16, 2010

Bix Beiderbecke

This entry is about a place as much as it is about a person. My original intent was to write about a jazz musician who was highly influential and revered amongst other top players of his generation but remained unknown to the public at large during his life time. As I was digging into this musician's back ground using the libray's catalog and print resources, it dawned on me how great it was that my local library collected, stored, and loaned out not only resources in a wide variety of formats free of change, and had services in place to assist me in getting other materials on my chosen subject such as interlibrary loan and electronic databases, but that a librarian had taken the time to single out and acquire specific choice items for my study and enjoyment. It was all so effortless because many people had already done all of the heavy lifting for me.

That being said, Bix Beiderbecke is considered by some to be the originator of cool jazz. The more I read about his style of playing, the more I am reminded of Miles Davis. Miles Davis would have been five years old at the time of Bix Beiderbecke's death in 1931. Bix, on the other hand, was only 28 when he died of chronic ill health and alcoholism. At a time when jazz musicians were setting the band stand ablaze by blasting out a flurry of notes coupled with flashy, complicated phrasing, Bix Beiderbecke was hanging back, playing fewer notes, and intoning his music with a feeling of introspection and playing it with a precision akin to that of the music of Debussy.


Anonymous said...

I was checking out Jazz CDs in Central and talking to a homeless fellow, a nice guy who takes jazz to his painting class. We lamented the small jazz section and the dearth of jazz in Austin. "It's all Hillbilly music in Austin" he said. I had to agree. Well, there has to be a place for everything, but I sure wish we had more jazz CDs, like Bix. Thanks for the write up on this amazing artist.

Curious Orange said...

Thank you for your comment. It was very funny. I have forwarded it to the librarian who buys music for our collection. Please feel free to make suggestions. Patron input is always appreciated and welcomed. I too do what I can to make our collection as rich and expansive as possible.