Bix Lives! LbNA # 41337
|Placed Date||Jul 28 2008|
|Last Found||Apr 17 2010|
|Last Edited||Sep 14 2015|
Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, and composer, as well as a skilled classical and jazz pianist.
Bix Beiderbecke was one of the greatest jazz musicians of the 1920s. His colorful life, quick rise and fall, and eventual status as a martyr made him a legend even before he died, and he has long stood as proof that not all the innovators in jazz history were black. He possessed a beautiful, distinctive tone and a strikingly original improvising style. Beiderbecke's only competitor among cornetists in the '20s was Louis Armstrong but, due to their different sounds and styles, one really cannot compare them. Beiderbecke was a bit of a child prodigy, picking out tunes on the piano when he was three. While he had conventional classical training on the piano, he taught himself the cornet. Influenced by the original Dixieland Jazz Band, Beiderbecke craved the freedom of jazz but his straight-laced parents felt he was being frivolous.
Beiderbecke was born in Davenport, Iowa to a middle-class family of German origins. As a teenager he would sneak off to the banks of the Mississippi to listen to bands play on the riverboats coming from the south. He briefly attended Davenport High School, and also went to First Presbyterian Church in Davenport.
Every summer, there is a jazz festival dedicated to Bix Beiderbecke in Davenport, IA. Throughout the week, jazz bands play at many different venues including the Col Ballroom and Danceland, both of which Bix played in himself. To learn more, you can go to www.bixsociety.org.
At the young age of 28, Beiderbecke's career was cut short by chronic poor health, exacerbated by his alcoholism, and he died in his small apartment in New York City. He was buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport, IA.
Considering we are both trumpet players we really enjoy Bix's music and the fact that he is from the Quad Cities.
The letterbox is at Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport, IA at 2501 Eastern Avenue.
Start at the entrance of the cemetary. As you enter, keep left at the fork in the road. To your left you should see a gazebo. Go past Palmer Sutton and take the middle road. At the next T-intersection, go right. On the left you will pass by Col. Davenport's grave (after whom the city is named). Bix's humble grave is a little bit further on the left along with other Beiderbecke family members' graves.
To find the letterbox, continue on the path, staying to the left, and you will see a small bush at the bottom of the hill. If you look up towards the hill you can still see Bix's grave. The letterbox is hidden in this bush. Please rehide carefully.