This is the definitive, detailed, highly enjoyable account of the great American jazz figure, Leon Bix Beiderbecke (1903 - 1931). Considered a musical genius, his brief career lasted seven years from 1924 to 1931. He is considered by many performers and critics to be the greatest trumpet player in jazz of all time. Bixs cornet style had a direct and formative influence on Louis Armstrong among others.
This book contains many memorable photographs and the writing is fluid and entertaining. Jean Pierre Lion has taken one of the most interesting jazz legends and shared him with the world in a way that is remarkable and educational.
Bix is a book that rightly deserves to be in all public libraries and it is a topnotch biography of the man and his times. This is the kind of reference work that comes along rarely and when it does spread the word to the readers. Bix was Jazz and Jazz was Bix.
Following the preface and introduction come 12 exciting chapters. They are in order as follows: "Origins" "1921: At School in Chicago" "1922: Music Above All Else" "1923: Birth of the Wolverines" "1925: Frank Trumbauer" "1926: The Happy Year" "1927: "'singin" the Blues" the Consecration" "1928: The Crack" "1929: Toward the Fall" "1930: Final Recordings" "1931: A Rotten Summer" and an Epilogue. Also included are appendices which cover texts and documents Bix's solo on "Singin" the Blues" bibliography discography and an index.
The legend of this master of the cornet is brought to life in revealing prose that illuminates the man and his music. Bix had a style that was totally unique having its roots in New Orleans jazz as well as in such classical composers as Ravel and Debussy. As the book explains this was the time of fast cars flappers and hot jazz musicians and Bix lived it. Some of the characters you will meet in reading this biography will surprise you.
Lion's biography is translated from the French by Gabriella Page-Fort with the assistance of Michael B. Heckman and Norman Field. The translation is flawless.
This book will be a reading experience you will not soon forget and as a story of a jazz musician and his times it captures perfectly that man and those times. Get a copy for yourself and a friend. Have your local librarian order a copy for the public library.
A great reading adventure scholarship photographs and insights make this classic true-to-life biography of the man named Leon Bix Beiderbecke a special book. Highly recommended.