Bix Beiderbecke

14Ian10

Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931)

A fost primul erou alb de jazz. Povestea lui, spusa si respusa, a influentat felul in care muzicienii de jazz au inceput sa-si proiecteze fictiunea. Un intreg cliseu romantic de geniu, droguri, bautura, autodistrugere si moarte prematura – a inceput cu el. S-a nascut in Davenport, Iowa, intr-o familie instarita, respectabila, incepuse sa asculte jazz la magnetofon, primind primele inregistrari – Dixieland Jazz Band. C-o ureche fenomenala, memora sunetele auzite, redandu-le apoi la pianul familiei si la un trombon imprumutat [eng. Cornet, nu cred ca e trombon, dar nu stiu ce e]. A fost si a ramas un autodidact, cu toate eforturile incurajatoare ale parintilor de a-l educa, de a-l forma drept un cetatean model, Bix a sfarsit prin a deveni cantaret de jazz, care, in anii prohibitiei, aducea a lipsa de reputatie, fiind membru constant al comunitatii consumatoare de gin, din clase sociale indoielnice.
La 20 de ani a cantat si intregistrat cu Wolverines, o formative mica, decenta…dar totusi nu de clasa lui. Mai tarziu s-a alaturat mai multor formatii prestigioase – Gene Goldkette Orchestra, Paul Whiteman – jazz simfonic. Dupa cum a fost descris – like hitting a bell – a devenit unul dintre cei mai indragiti solisti de jazz. Piese precum “Singin’ the Blues”, “Riverboat Shuffle” – sunt de-o calitate inocenta, optimista cum numai niste oameni foarte tineri o pot reda, de-o simplitate sofisticata si o linie melodica plina de eleganta. Dar nu a durat mult, pe la mijlocul anilor 20 – lumea era parte din era bauturii – era singura modalitate prin care tinerii se integrau intr-un taram guvernat de prohibitionisti si puritani. Bix nu s-a mai putut opri.
[fragment din Icons of Jazz – a history in photographs – de Dave Gelly]

There has been debate about the full name of Bix Beiderbecke: was he baptized Leon Bix or Leon Bismark (Bix being a shortened form of the latter). He was named after his father Leon Bismark Beiderbecke. From the early 1960s onwards, Beiderbecke’s living relatives (notably his brother Charles „Burnie”) forcefully claimed that his name had always been Leon Bix. This was accepted as a fact by Beiderbecke researchers Phil and Linda Evans.

Other researchers, including Rich Johnson, have found documents showing his full name to be Leon Bismark. These include records from the Early First Presbyterian Church to which the family belonged, and from Tyler School, which Bix attended. In addition, the will of a relative, Mary Hill, named young Beiderbecke as a beneficiary. His mother signed for his receipt of her gift, writing „Leon Bismark Beiderbecke”.

Beiderbecke appeared to dislike his formal name from an early age. For example: in a letter to his mother when he was nine (1912), he signed it, „frome [sic] your Leon Bix Beiderbecke not Bismark Remeber [sic].” (this letter is reprinted in Evans & Evans pp 28-29). The family may have wanted to play down or avoid the more traditional German name of Bismarck during and after the tensions of World War I, when Germany was the enemy.



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