Jim Grover's Creative Thesis

    In May 1971, James Robert Grover submitted "A Creative Aural History Thesis" to the Department of Speech of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts. The title of the thesis is "A Series of Nineteen One-Half-Hour Original Tape-Recorded Radio Programs on the Life and Music of Leon Bix Beiderbecke." The programs were produced by Jim Grover at Miami University Radio, which operates the public broadcasting radio station WMUB. The production of Bix was financed, in part, by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting under the umbrella of their Sounds of Radio competition. William Utter, manager of WMUB and Professor of Communications at the time, had written the grant proposal and was successful in securing the necessary funds. Jim's academic adviser was Stephen C. Hathaway, at the time, director of Miami University Telecommunications Service.
    Jim's thesis was no ordinary scholarly document on an esoteric subject, nor was it a written document. Basically, what James Grover produced was a series of audio tapes. It is noteworthy that the use of an audio format, at the time, represented a highly creative and novel approach in academic scholarship. The tapes go through Bix's life by a combination of narration, interviews with musicians and friends who knew Bix personally, commentaries by knowledgeable people, and Bix's own recordings. I quote from the abstract of the thesis, "The tape-recorded series of programs presents an aural history of this great American Jazz innovator." "The interview material provides an insight to the creative and human aspects of Bix Beiderbecke." "Although numerous authors, while tracing the evolution of jazz, have attempted to document Bix, none have used the intimate medium of radio to illustrate the entire Beiderbecke career. The nineteen tape-recorded programs of the series provide an in-depth study of the life and music of the legendary Bix." This is a low-key description of a magnificent document. The people who are interviewed clearly loved Bix and provide informative, insightful, and, sometimes, humorous comments. The analyses of Bix's recordings are detailed, perceptive, and instructive. The narration is concise and well-woven. It is important to point out that the tapes were produced before the Sudhalter-Evans biography and the Berman video documentary were available, two excellent sources of detailed information. But I must point out also that Phil Evans (the author of biographies about Bix, Tram and Red Nichols) with his encyclopedic knowledge and documentation about Bix, John Steiner (legendary jazz records collector who in the 1940's bought the remainings of the Paramount record company) with his knowledge and collection of mint Bix recordings, and Joseph Campbell (a local Bix aficionado who also had a superb collection of mint recordings) acted as advisors for the series. Other important people associated with the project were Bill Utter who acted as executive producer and also was an excellent narrator for the series; Frank Powers (clarinet player and, at the time, president of the Southwest Ohio Classic Jazz Society) who analyzed the recordings; and Mary K. Fulton who wrote some of the script and the narration connecting the interviews. There is no way to do justice to this fantastic work by reading a transcript. One has to listen to the tapes using the "intimate medium of radio" as Jim Grover put it so well.  The nineteen tapes were broadcast in successive weeks by WMUB in 1972.

    For almost thirty years, Jim's thesis lay dormant (and silent) (See correction below) in various depository places: the library of Miami University, the Davenport Public Library; some of the programs, recorded off the air, were in the Michigan State University Library. Bootlegs copies have been in circulation for many years, but these were played privately.  Jim Grover's BIX series of tapes came alive again starting on March 10, 2001, the 98th anniversary of Bix's birth: it was broadcast by radio station WMKV.

    At the time the rebroadcast was announced, Alan Bayowski, general manager of WMKV, who conceived the idea of the rebroadcast, wrote, "The series will begin airing on WMKV 89.3 FM Cincinnati on Saturday, March 10th at 7 p.m. EST  with a rebroadcast on Wednesday, March 14th at 10 p.m.  We will air the series in one hour blocks.  The first program on the 10th of March will feature the intro recorded by Bart, Frank and Bill plus the first in the Bix series.  The next Bix Show will feature #2 and #3 from the original series and be aired on March 17th and the 21st. We'll then continue with two shows (one hour)  each week, Saturday for the premiere and the rebroadcast the following Wednesday.  With this schedule the final program of one hour will air the 12th and 16th of May."

    Bart, Frank and Bill are Dave Bartholomew, Frank Powers and William Utter, respectively. Frank was a clarinet player, Bix specialist, and jazz scholar, and was the major commentator for the program. Bill -we already saw his name earlier- was  manager of WMUB and Professor of Communications at the time; he had written the grant proposal for securing the necessary funds to finance the making of the program. Bill was the executive producer for the series and was the narrator as well. Bill provided a clean set of tapes. Alan tells me that Bart is "a WMKV volunteer who produces a wonderful weekly program on music from the 20s called "Friction"  and is a Bix aficionado; he has taken copies of the series that Bill Utter has and has lovingly rerecorded/dubbed the programs onto Digital Audio Tape.  They will then be transferred to CD. Bart reinserted "cleaner''  recordings of Bix's music to deal with some audio bleeding that was on the original tapes we were working with." Bart, Frank and Bill have prepared an introduction. Bill writes, " They invited me to come down in the next week to do a :30 program with Frank Powers and others about the making of the series.  I will take along some out-takes given me by Jim Grover.  They will use this to lead off the broadcast of the series on the station and internet."

    I am now proud and honored to present -available on demand in the Bixography web site- the 19 programs as aired by WMKV as well as the introduction to the series specially prepared for the rebroadcast. I want to express my profound gratitude to Bill Utter who provided me with copies of the 10 CDs of the rebroadcast. A warm thanks also goes to Alan who, with Bill, decided that I was to be one of the first recipients of the CDs lovingly and beautifully produced by Bart. The contributions of Bart and Frank also must be recognized with our appreciation. It is sad that Frank did not live to witness this third broadcast of Jim's thesis. Last, but not least, we - Bixophiles and Jazz aficionados from around the world-  owe a great debt of gratitude to Jim Grover who put together an invaluable historic document. This page is dedicated to him with admiration and respect.

Albert Haim
Setauket NY USA
May 8, 2002

Correction 03/14/03.  Jim Grover's series "Bix" was broadcast at least once between the original 1972 broadcast over WMUB and that 2001 broadcast over WMKV. Richard "Dixie Dick" Kammeier wrote to me on March 1, 2003 and kindly provided he following information. Dick had a traditional jazz program -Dixieland Brunch- on Tampa's community radio station, WMNF. Joe Campbell, who acted as an advisor for Jim Grover's series "Bix" and had a copy of the "Bix" programs (Joe was Bill Utter's brother in law), moved to St. Petersburg. Joe got acquainted with "Dixie Dick" through his radio program. In 1981, Dick asked and received permission to rebroadcast Jim Grover's 19 half-hour radio programs in his "Dixieland Brunch" program over WMNF. The tapes of the programs were provided by Joe and were broadcast once a week in the morning from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. for nineteen weeks. Thus, the entire "Bix" show was heard  in the Tampa Bay area of Florida on "Dixieland Brunch" over WMNF during that time period. Dick tells me, "I would always slip in a few Bix recordings during the rest of the shows I presented."

Addition 03/16/02. Jim Grover presented a copy of the 19 audio tapes of his M.S. Thesis to the Davenport Public Library on August 6, 1971 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Bix's death. This was the same day as Bill Donohoe and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Band of New Jersey made their historic trip to Davenport to play Davenport Blues at Bix's grave site in Oakdale Cemetary. The presentation of the tapes took place in the Davenport Public Library. The event was photographed. A photograph of theevent was published in the August 7, 1971 issue of Times-Democrat, Davenport-Bettendorf,  Iowa. A scan of the photo [Apologies for the poor quality. This is a scan of  a copy from a microfilm.] is shown on the right-hand side. Jim Grover, right,  represented the Miami University radio station and Robert Kellenberg, president of the Board of Trustees represented the Davenport Public Library. As reported by Jim Arpy in the story he wrote for the paper, Jim Grover said, "When the jazzmen of the 30s needed a hero, they chose Bix. Bix, the high school dropout, the self-taught musician, had been part of two of the most successful bands of the 20s."

    Special Introductory program for the 2001 WMKV rebroadcast  of the series BIX. David "Bart" Bartholomew hosts a special introductroy program with the original narrator, Bill Utter, and the commentator from the original series, Frank Powers.
      Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 1.
    His interest in music as a child-early jazz exposure. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the first meeting with Louis Armstrong and possibly Emmett Hardy. Bix's involvement in music in his high school days. Recollections of Bix's brother Charles Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Eddie Condon, and Gene Krupa.
     Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 2.
    BIX in Chicago 1921-1922-Bix as a student at Lake Forest Academy. Chicago excursions introduced the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Bix chose music.
     Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 3.
    BIX and the Start of the Wolverines-Autumn of 1923: Eddie Condon tells of his first impressions of the "kid with the cap". Dud Mecum explains how the Wolverines got to the Stockton Club. The first recordings: "Fidgety Feet" and "Jazz Me Blues".
         Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 4.
    BIX and the Growth of the Wolverines-More recordings: "Oh Baby,"; Hoagy Carmichael reminisces about the Spring of 1924 and his composition "Riverboat Shuffle." "I Need Some Pettin'," "Tiger Rag," and "Tia Juana."
         Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 5.
    The Last of BIX and the Wolverines and the Beginning of the BIX/Trumbauer Team-"Big Boy," the last recording with the Wolverines. McPartland takes over - it was the end of an era. The first recording of Bix and Trumbauer, "I'm Glad," with the Sioux City Six.
      Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 6.
    Jean Goldkette Orchestra, BIX and His Rhythm Jugglers-Bix loved the classics, as discussed by Paul Mertz. Victor rejected a Bix solo. "Davenport Blues" was his first composition. The call to St. Louis.
         Streaming audio file.       Download file.

Program 7.
    BIX in St. Louis and Return to Detroit: Goldkette-The Arcadia Ball Room and a young lady named Ruth. The Goldkette recordings of "Sunday," "I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now," and "My Pretty Girl." Bill Rank recalls Don Murray and Jimmy Dorsey a the "clowns" in the band.
       Streaming audio file.       Download file.

      Program 8.
         BIX and Trumbauer-1927-"Clarinet Marmalade," "Singin' the Blues'" the Bill Challis
       arrangement     of "Ostrich Walk," and Hoagy Carmichael on "Riverboat Shuffle."
              Streaming audio file.       Download file

      Program 9.
         BIX and Trumbauer-1927, the Last of the Goldkette Orchestra-"I'm Coming Virginia," "Way
       Down Yonder in New Orleans," "For No Reason at All in C," "Three Blind Mice," and
      "Clementine."  Hoagy Carmichael compares Bix's choruses to the weaving of lace. Paul Mertz on
      memories of Bix.
           Streaming audio file.       Download file

    Program 10.
         BIX and the New Yorkers, BIX and his Gang-Frankie Trumbauer remembers the collapse of
     Goldkette's Orchestra. Hoagy recalls Bix's "pyrotechnics." Recordings include "There Ain't No Land
     Like Dixieland," "Royal Garden Blues," "Jazz Me Blues," "Goose Pimples." Bill Rank recalls his
     favorite recording with Bix - "At the Jazz Band Ball."
         Streaming audio file.       Download file

    Program 11.
     The Whiteman Period- Part I-"Sorry" and "Since My Gal Turned Me Down" recorded by Bix
     and His Gang. Frank Trumbauer's recording of "A Good Man is Hard to Find." "Changes," one of
     Bix's first recordings with Paul Whiteman. Comments by Bing Crosby.
       Streaming audio file.       Download file

    Program 12.
     The Whiteman Period- Part II-"Lonely Melody," "There'll Come a Time" (Trumbauer),
    "Mississippi  Mud" (Trumbauer), "Dardanella," and the classic Whiteman recording "From Monday
    On." Also memories of Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and Gene Krupa.
      Streaming audio file.       Download file

    Program 13.
           The Whiteman Period- Part III-More from Bing Crosby and Bill Challis. The Whiteman
    recordings of "Sugar," "You Took Advantage of Me," and "Tain't So Honey, Tain't So." Bix's Gang
    recording of "Somebody Stole My Gal."
      Streaming audio file.       Download file

    Program 14.
         The Whiteman Period- Part IV-Louis Armstrong, Bill Challis, and Bill Rank on association with
    Bix. Recordings include "That's My Weakness Now," "Ol' Man River," "Wa Da Da," "Sweet Sue,"
    and "Love Affairs."
       Streaming audio file.     Download file

     Program 15.
         The Whiteman Period- Part V-Bill Rank ... Bix missed a train on a tour in 1928. Bill Challis ...
      Bix became ill and left the band. Paul Whiteman ... Bix was a gentleman. Trumbauer recordings:
     "Love Nest," "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," and "I Like That." China Boy" by the
     Whiteman Orchestra.
       Streaming audio file.     Download file

Program 16.
    BIX: 1929-1930-Hoagy Carmichael remembers his recording date with Bix that produced "Barnacle Bill" and "Rockin' Chair." Bix Beiderbecke and His Orchestra: "I'll Be A Friend With Pleasure," and "Deep Down South." Pee Wee Russell on Bix.
        Streaming audio file.       Download file

Program 17.
    BIX: 1930-1931-"Georgia on My Mind." Bix's recording of his own composition "In A Mist" as recalled by Frank Trumbauer. Bill Rank and Bill Challis ... the business of writing music. Jimmy and Marian McPartland love Bix's music.
        Streaming audio file.      Download file

Program 18.
    BIX: The Composer-"In A Mist," "Candlelights," "Flashes," "In the Dark," and "Davenport Blues." Discussion by Bill Challis and Ralph Sutton.
          Streaming audio file.      Download file

Program 19.
    BIX: The Final Chorus- Louis Armstrong, Charles Beiderbecke, Bill Challis, Eddie Condon, Preston Jackson, Jimmy McPartland, Dr. Elwood Senderling.
          Streaming audio file.       Download file

When I made available all nineteen programs at once,  the traffic was so heavy that the server that hosts BIX (as well as WBIX, image files and Joel's discography) crashed. I will make available, cumulatively,  two programs per week  (one hour per week)  for the next 10 weeks. I believe that by following this procedure, the server will be able to handle the demand.
Programs 2,3 available 5/18/02
Programs 4,5 available 5/27/02
Programs 6,7 available 6/05/02
Programs 8,9 available 6/11/02
Programs 10, 11 available 6/17/02
Programs 12, 13 available 6/24/02
Programs 14, 15 available 7/01/02
Programs 16, 17 available 7/08/02
Programs 18, 19 available 7/15/02
All the programs are uploaded. The complete Jim Grover BIX program, originally broadcast by Miami University radio station WMUB in 1972 and rebroadcast by WMKV in 2001, is now available, on demand, throughout the world via the miracle of the internet.

Addendum.  July 27, 2015.

All 19 program files were reformatted as mp3 files and were uploaded to the website. The links to each program are given below.

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A Brief Biography  Articles in Magazines The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society
Bix's Musical Genius Video Tapes  Items of Special Interest
Biographies Audio Tapes Information of Related Interest
Chapters in Books Museums A Stamp for Bix in 2003
Scholarly Dissertations Miscellaneous Links to Related Sites
Obituaries Readers' Queries and Remarks Celebration of Bix's Musical Legacy
The Original 78's
Analysis of Some Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Complete Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Tributes to Bix
Miscellaneous Recordings Related to Bix

This page was launched on May 8, 2002