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Music Encyclopedia

Leon Bismarck "Bix" Beiderbecke ( 1903 - 1931 )

American cornet player and considered one of the best white jazz musicians ever.

His smooth style and flawless technique etched his mark in the history of American Jazz.
Beiderbecke had a natural harmonic sense, which coupled with the exposure to the African America music style gave him an edge in playing this type of music.
He was blessed with perfoming with his black counterparts and was highly respected and admired by Louis Armstrong.
This being a time when white and black did not mix in the same recording room, but played in separate compartments.
"Bix" of course mingled with his colored friends as they mutually respected each others skills.

"Bix" played with a band of college friends who called themselves "The Wolverines". The name suited them and their lifestyle.
He also spent time with the Paul Whitman band where he established himself solidly as the most gifted musician in American at that time. They worked hard at the music they played and as well played hard with the after hours carousing which contributed to his early death.

Beiderbecke not only played the cornet well, but was a gifted pianist. He had no formal piano training, but because of his natural abilities he played this instrument as well as any. He displayed it in a tune he wrote called " In A Mist".
This tune has subtle harmonies and wonderful tonal colors. It is unfortunate he died so young as so many other gifted musicians and artists.