Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival
Tribute to Bix
Annual Bix Birthday Bash
24-hour Birthday Tribute on WKCR
Yearly Birthday Tribute to Bix on KCSM
Bix Beiderbecke Legacy Stage Show
Gathering of August 6, 1999 in Front of Bix's Last Residence
Bix Vigil 2002
Bix Vigil 2003
Bix Vigil 2005
The JVC Jazz Festival
If Bix Played Gershwin
Bix, The Romance and The Reality
The Carnegie Hall Concert
The Second Carnegie Hall Concert
To Bix Or Not To Bix?
Salute to Bix
Tribute to Bix, Racine, March 2006.

    Every year, several organizations pay homage to Bix's musical genius and legacy. The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society celebrates Bix's music with the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. Phil Pospychala honors Bix's legacy by organizing his Tribute to Bix. The Davenport Public Library throws a Bix Birthday Bash. Radio stations devote part or all of their programming on Bix's birthday to his music.

Tribute to Bix. Racine, March 2006.

The Tribute to Bix in Racine, March 9-12, 2006

by Albert Haim

Here are some details of the Racine bash.

Thursday – bus tour. Andrew mentioned most of what we did. A couple of additions.
- Orson Welles’ house at 6116 Seventh Avenue, Kenosha, WI.
- Memorial Hall in Racine where Whiteman played on October 12, 1925. Here are a couple of images.

Friday afternoon – My lecture on “Copying Bix,” about two hours in length with text, images, and music. Here is the list of solos/complete arrangements that were discussed

1. The Jazz Me Blues
2. Copenhagen (several copies)
3. Tiger Rag (several copies)
4. Riverboat Shuffle (two copies)
5. Sweet Sue (two copies)
6. I’m Coming Virginia (one copy/tribute by Bobby Hackett)
7. Singin’ the Blues (two vocal copies)
Complete arrangements
1. Singin’ the Blues (two copies)
2. Clarinet Marmalade
3. Ostrich Walk

Friday evening. The band that was supposed to play did not come. So some of the musicians: Mike Durham, Andy S (the young student at the University of Illinois who posted here a few months ago; a highly talented cornet player), David (a high school student on trombone, tuba, trumpet, another talented young man), Sue F on drums (she improvised a set using an ashtray can, a cardboard box and a chair!!!) and ???? got together and played for the audience. Nice work guys and dolls.
That was followed by movies.
1. A documentary on the South Shore Railroad (the one that runs from Chicago to Hudson Lake). When the railroad was modernized, a documentary of the first run was made. The narrator in the soundtrack mentioned that the Casino at Hudson Lake was the site for the appearance of several bands and mentions Bix Beiderbecke, not Jean Goldkette, as one of the major musicians to have played at the Casino (re-named Blue Lantern by Goldkette for the glorious summer of 1926).
2. A documentary on the Weintraub Syncopators.
Excellent. Here is an image.

3. Gilda Gray, the shimmy queen, in “Rose Marie” with the great Nelson Eddy/Jeannette McDonald couple. Here is Gilda.

There was more, but I left and went to the record spinning session.

Saturday Afternoon. Brad made his presentation of “Cradle of Love, Part 3”. It lasted more than two hours. He discussed similarities between the mystery cornetist and Bix and presented several synchronized solos from alternate takes of Bix, Louis, Jimmy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, and the mystery cornetist. There was a good questions and answers period following Brad’s lecture. Very enjoyable and illuminating. In spite of Brad’s detailed analysis, I am more and more convinced that Bix is not the mystery cornetist.

In the evening, we had a concert with the bands “Swing Shift” (good, technically, but wrong time period, big band sound) and “Dixie Doodlers” with Andy S, the highlight of the band in my opinion.

Sunday afternoon. Bix birthday cake, the same two bands as Saturday evening plus the West End Jazz Band, a really excellent group.

It was a pleasure to see many of the forumites and to celebrate Bix's birthday with so many knowledgeable Bixophiles attending the Tribute. I thank Phil for the work he puts in organizing these Tributes, and I hope that he can continue for many more years!


PS I am certain I forgot many parts of the program. Those of you who attended, please fill in! Thanks.

Posted on Mar 16, 2006, 8:25 AM

                Racine Reflections – Phil Pospychala’s Tribute to Bix March 9-12, 2006

                                          From Jim Petersen, Davenport, Iowa

   My friend, Gerri Bowers, asked that I recall our trip to the Bix tribute in the Racine Wisconsin area, and I’m happy to comply.

   First, a little about how I came to know Mrs. Bowers and how I became a Bix fan.

   My beloved 96 year old father, Victor H. Petersen, passed away a year ago this April.  Gerri, who is a genealogist called me to tell me that I was a 2nd cousin, once removed, to Bix Beiderbecke.  She also noted that my grandfather, Albert L. Petersen, was known as “Uncle Olie” to the Beiderbecke family and was involved with Bix and his musical education in the early days.  I knew some of that, but I wanted to learn more, so I was invited to Gerri’s house where I met Julie and Matt Craighead, Rich Johnson and of course Kent and Gerri Bowers.

   The more I learned about Bix and the more I listened to his music, the more interested and enthusiastic I became.  The festival in Davenport was the final event that converted me into a Bix fan once and for all.  Once I learned this Racine Fest was so close by, I was raring to go and to take some of my new Bix friends along with me.  Happily, Rich Johnson, Matt and Julie Craighead consented to ride along with me. So shortly after the conclusion of the Bix Birthday Bash at the Fairmount Street Davenport Library on Wednesday the 8th of March, off we went!

   A neat part of this Fest is the Thursday March 9th bus trip to places of some importance to the history of jazz.  While the day was somewhat dreary, it did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the 50 some fans aboard the Phil Pospychala Express!  Phil’s tour guiding was both informative and entertaining and when we had time between stops, Betty Boop, Charlie Chaplin and others held our interest on the small screens near each seat.

   I’ll rattle off just some of the stops along the way, the first point of interest was the Memorial Auditorium in Racine, Wisconsin where Paul Whiteman played prior to Bix joining them.  We stopped by the house where Jabbo Smith, a top black jazzman once lived.  We peered in the windows of what used to be a bar where Gilda Grey started her career of “shimmering”.  We went past Marquette University in Milwaukee, and the boyhood home of the late actor, Orson Welles in Kenosha.

   One of the more interesting stops was the tour thru the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.  It was built (in 6 months no less!)  in 1895 and has 1350 seats.  It was very ornate and beautiful.  Some of the greatest talents in the world have performed there, including the Paul Whiteman band on two occasions prior to Bix joining them.  The Pabst theater is the 4th oldest continuous running theater in the United States!

    From the theater, we hit the only "mini" bowling alley in Wisconsin.  The lanes were about 20 feet long and the balls the size of large grapefruits with no holes in them.  The pins were about 10 to 12 inches tall.  Several of the group tried their hand at this nearly obsolete form of bowling – they even featured human pinsetters!  The alleys were located at the back of the “Coz” tavern.

   We then went to a bar that is the only concertina bar in the US. Some of our guys brought there instruments along and played a little Dixieland until the "Polka" guys showed up.  As the night went on, the jazzers joined the Polka boys and it was fun to watch the jazzers "fake" the Polka stuff.  It was great fun for all.  The shocked look on some of the local’s faces as they entered their neighborhood tavern to see it full of new folks with many of them trying to Polka, was priceless in itself.  Norman Rockwell would have had fun with the many faces that visited (and operated!) this unique tavern.  The place might have been a fountain of youth as I think about it.  One gentleman who was celebrating his 90th birthday walked very haltingly, but when the music played, he lightly skittered about as if many years younger.

   On Friday, there was a for sale section where you could buy CD's, Books and memorabilia and old 78 RPM records.  They had a record listening session Friday night and some were there until after 4:00 AM! 

<>   New York’s Albert Haim took advantage of the very nice Marriott sound system and gave a talk about the many artists who copied Bix.  When making direct comparisons as Albert did with the audio system, it was crystal clear why we all think Bix was so great.  After playing “Singing the Blue’s” in it’s entirety, Albert, in an obviously heartfelt way, said, “Thank you Bix…’s his birthday today everyone!”  I can’t speak for the others but I for one had a king sized lump in my throat about that time. 

   The band that was to perform on Friday night couldn’t make it, so they had a band made up of whoever brought their instruments on the trip.  One of the gals (Sue Fischer of New Orleans) was a drummer, but of course she didn't bring her drum set with her. She ended up buying or borrowing a cymbal out of the swap meet and attaching it to a chair, she used a tall stand alone ash tray and a cardboard box and that was her drum didn't sound too bad and she laid down a nice beat for the boys.  Luckily, Sue brought her sticks with her, or perhaps soda straws and swizzle sticks might have been employed!  My friend Matt Craighead  played his Sax (as he did at the concertina bar) and Rich borrowed a guitar from the sales area (full of rock musician stickers etc.!) and played also.  England’s Mike Durham (Spat’s Langham & his Rhythm Boys and The West Jesmond Rhythm Kings) also graced the stage as did others whose name I didn’t catch – but the place was jumpin’!!  Two young students joined the band the last set and they bought the house down with some fine trombone and cornet playing.  After the music, we were treated to some old films concerning the history of jazz – even took a video train trip to the Blue Lantern on Hudson Lake where Bix performed with the Goldkette orchestra and where he started composing his famous number, “In A Mist”. 

   On Saturday, California’s Brad Kay, a fine keyboard player as I learned from Friday’s jam session and again this day, gave a nice talk about the possibility of Bix playing the solo’s on three recently discovered 78’s by the Ray Miller Band.  The tune in question was “Cradle of Love”. Brad dissected the sounds of Bix and several others who might have played the solo in question.  The nice sound system again came into play to the delight of those present. A convincing argument can be made both pro and con over this solo and people seem to be on one side or the other about it. 

     My friend Rich Johnson found the whole “Cradle of Love” discussion a good way to have a little fun. When he borrowed the guitar from the sales area, he kidded and said it was one that once belonged to Eddie Condon and that he found a note inside that read, “Eddie, Tell them that it wasn’t me on Cradle of love.  Bix”  Rich also had a version of the letter where Bix said that it WAS him on “Cradle” depending on who he was talking to.

   Unfortunately, the conclusion of Brad Kay’s talk also meant the end of our trip.  We missed a lot of music scheduled for Saturday night and Sunday, but we all had commitments calling us back to the QCA.  I want to thank Rich, Matt and Julie for their enjoyable company that weekend and for putting up with “wrong turn” Petersen on the trip.

    As I said earlier, there were other points of interest not mentioned here.  Phil was already planning the bus trip for next year during this trip as he uses a different route each year.  Well worth a Bix and/or a jazz fans time and money. Visit: for more details on upcoming events.

   I’ll leave you with one of many chuckles I had on the trip, when one of the guys said he had a friend who had 70 trombones, Mike Durham spoke up and said, "What?  He couldn't afford 6 more??”

Originally published in the Catfish Jazz Society Journal. I thank Jim Petersen for giving me permission to reprint the article here.



MY PRETTY GIRL - composer; Charles Fulcher

    reorded by the composer, fulcher, and his Atlanta based band
    in 1925, two years before Bix and the Goldkette band waxed
    this head arrangement for Victor.

SUNDAY - composers; Ned Miller, Chester Cohn, Jules Stein & Bennie Krueger

    The original arrangement by Bill Challis included a vocal
    by the Keller Sisters and Lynch.

I'M GONNA MEET MY SWEETIE NOW - composers; Jessie Greer and Benny Davis

    A Bill Challis arrangement recorded by Goldkette in 1927

SINGIN' THE BLUES - composers; Con Conrad; J. Russell Robinson, Sam

    Lewis and Joe Young. After the 1927 recording this tune belonged
    to Bix and Tram forever.

I'M COMIN VIRGINIA -composers; Donald Heywood and Will Marion Cook

    This tune from the show "Africana" was recorded by Bix and Tram
    in 1927. The arrangement was by Irving Riskin.

WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS - composers; Turner Layton and Henry Cramer

    This 1922 tune form the show, "The Spice of Life" was recorded
    by Bix and Tram in 1927 in an arrangement by Don Murray.

CLARINET MARMALADE -composers: Larry Shields & Henry Ragas

    A little jelly cooked up by two memebers of the O.D.J.B.
    A good tune for jamming. Bix and Tram cut this side in 1927
    with Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet and including Bill Rank, Paul
    Mertz and Chauncey Morehouse among others.

CLEMENTINE FROM NEW ORLEANS -composers; Turner Layton & Henry Cramer

    Another 1927 head arrangement recorded by Bix with Goldkette

                                                          Program Notes by Joe H. Klee
                                                          New York Correspondent, The Mississippi Rag

A copy of the program was kindly supplied by Ed Mazar; I thank him very much.

A scan of the first page with signatures form Mertz, Venuti and McPartland follows below.
I point out a few errors. Spiegle and Venuti were misspelled. At the Jazz band Ball was recorded by Bix and His Gang. The 1927 recording of Royal Garden Blues is by Bix and His Gang.

I am indebted to Friedrich Hachenberg for sending me a scan of the photograph.
I am indebted to Friedrich Hachenberg for sending me a scan of the program.

The Blue Four Rehearsing for the Concert.
Joe Venuti, violin; Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar; Vince Giordano, bass saxophone; Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone. Spiegle Willcox observing.

However Bernie Privin did manage to tour Europe that year with the 'ghost' Tommy Dorsey band (Dorsey had died in 1956) and in 1975 visited Russia that year with the remarkably successful New York Jazz Repertory Company where he interpreted Armstrong's music along with the ex-Count Basie trumpeter Joe Newman.

"new york jazz repertory company" search google
To Bix Or Not To Bix?
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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
In A Mist