In September of 1929—almost two years before the end—he was admitted to the Keeley Institute, in Dwight, Illinois, the nation's premier alcohol rehabilitation facility. One suspects part of the cause of Berigan’s present-day obscurity is that he was white. Man and Legend, Dr. Haberski signed the New York City death records listing Bix Beiderbecke s death as being lobar pneumonia, with edema of the brain despite reproducing Bix s death certificate, which has lobar pneumonia as the sole cause of death and no Contributory Cause . Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, Blum says in her essay, “the federal government poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.”. But jazz artist Randall Sandke, who plays cornet and trumpet and who is on the board of the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and Archive, said he has long wondered about the ultimate cause of Bix’s death. In late July or early August 1931, Beiderbecke took up residence at 43-30 46th Street, Sunnyside, Queens, New York City, where he went on his last drinking binge. ". In 1971, on the 40th anniversary of Bix's death, a group of jazz musicians traveled from New Jersey to Davenport and played over Bix's grave. In 1974, Sudhalter and Evans published their biography, Bix: Man and Legend, which was nominated for a National Book Award. I do think this is important context for understanding Bix Beiderbecke's health and early death. And if he also drank poisoned alcohol, then that exacerbated the effects of his illness. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Bix Beiderbecke (10 Mar 1903–6 Aug 1931), Find a Grave Memorial no. Bix Beiderbecke. His kidneys and liver didn’t function properly. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his full name, the cause of his death and the importance of his contributions to jazz. People have asked me over the years how it was possible for someone like Bix, even assuming he was an alcoholic, to die so young. Bix was also a notable composer. His father was nicknamed "Bix", as, for a time, was his older brother, Charles Burnette "Burnie" Beiderbecke. In fact the 18th Amendment never prohibited drinking alcohol, just its manufacture, transportation and sale. Citing the musician Randy Sandke, he asserts that Beiderbecke's symptoms were "hardly consistent with prolonged use of alcohol, [but] rather a sudden and acute poisoning—but with what?". The historical Beiderbecke, meanwhile, is the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his true name, his sexual orientation, the cause of his death, and the importance of his contributions to jazz in relation to those of African-American players of the same period. Upload media Wikipedia: Name in native language: Bix Beiderbecke: Date of birth: 10 March 1903 Davenport: Date of death: 6 August 1931 Long Island: Manner of death: natural causes; Cause of death: pneumonia; Work period (start) 1924: Country of citizenship: United States of America; Educated at: The musician-critic Benny Green sarcastically called Beiderbecke "jazz's Number One Saint," while Ralph Berton compared him to Jesus. Gender: Male. Though his death certificate described the cause of death as pneumonia, and he was in seriously ill health, the circumstances immediately surrounding his death are still unclear. After Beiderbecke had arrived and been examined, the doctor wrote to inform his mother that her son suffered from a loss of appetite, diarrhea, heart palpitations, dizziness, neuritis in the feet, an enlarged liver, balancing problems, and a tremor in his fingers. Leon Bismark Beiderbecke was born March 10, 1903. Bix Beiderbecke. The historical Beiderbecke, meanwhile, is the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his true name, his sexual orientation, the cause of his death, and the importance of his contributions to jazz in relation to those of African-American players of the same period. But does it mean that Bix was murdered? Only Bix Beiderbecke, the great cornetist who drank himself to death in 1931 at the age of 28, suffered a sadder fate. Chemists employed by the syndicates and bootleggers worked to make the denatured industrial alcohol potable, which made the government create ways to make industrial alcohol more poisonous. On the evening of August 6, at about 9.30 pm, his rental agent, George Kraslow, heard noises coming from across the hallway. Cause of Death. Once the made-for-drinking alcohol ran out, bootleggers began "renaturing" the industrial stuff, a process that attempted to remove the poison. In his article, Sandke turns to the writing of Deborah Blum, whose 2010 story, “The Chemist’s War: The little-told story of how the U.S. Government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences,” published by Slate, explains the government’s role in fighting bootleggers. Every year in July the "Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival" is held in Davenport. Upload media Wikipedia: Name in native language: Bix Beiderbecke: Date of birth: 10 March 1903 Davenport: Date of death: 6 August 1931 Long Island: Manner of death: natural causes; Cause of death: pneumonia; Work period (start) 1924: Country of citizenship: United States of America; Educated at: Rock, pop and blues music has a long history of premature deaths of influential musicians. Bix suffered from severe pain in his legs and other ill effects of prohibition era alcohol and with declining work around the New York City area, he took a turn for the worse. Temperatures are in the 50s so you'll want a jacket when you step Birthplace: Davenport, IA. ", "Alcohol," Spencer writes, "was the 'poison' in Beiderbecke's system.". In late July or early August 1931, Beiderbecke took up residence at 43-30 46th Street, Sunnyside, Queens, New York City, where he went on his last drinking binge. Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s, a cornet player noted for an inventive lyrical approach and purity of tone, with such clarity of sound that one contemporary famously described it like "shooting bullets at a bell". Beiderbecke died in his apartment, No. He had been in declining health since he had a reaction to alcohol the evening of Nov. 30, 1928, Sandke said. His findings were laid out in a 2013 essay, "Was Bix Beiderbecke Poisoned by the Federal Government," published in the Journal of Jazz Studies, a periodical from the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers. Leon Bix Beiderbecke was born in Davenport, Iowa to a middle-class family. “His health never really recovered from that point on. The next year a Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Festival was begun there, and it has grown to be a huge annual event, drawing thousands to downtown Davenport every July. Pianist. Explore Bix Beiderbecke's biography, personal life, family and cause of death. Instead, he was most likely drinking alcohol that had been (legally) poisoned and, as we'll see, perhaps only partially (and illegally) un-poisoned. Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer. Beiderbecke "jazz's Number One Saint," while Ralph Berton compared him to Jesus. I didn’t contribute anything, but I listened and learned […] I was now being influenced by these musicians, particularly horn men. “Some people managed to avoid being seriously affected.”. Beiderbecke was born on March 10, 1903, in Davenport, Iowa, the son of Bismark Herman and Agatha Jane Hilton Beiderbecke. Three years later, Ralph Berton, whose brother Vic Berton played for a time with Beiderbecke in the Wolverines, published a memoir, Remembering Bix , in which he claimed that Beiderbecke had had a brief fling with … Location of death: Queens, NY. Sandke argues that Bix could have been unlucky enough that night to have imbibed tainted alcohol, as many had during Prohibition, and it could have been the federal government that may have, inadvertently, been a factor in Bix’s untimely death. In death he was again enfolded into the bosom of his family, and his grave is there in the dignified Beiderbecke … “I think there is a certain amount of luck of the draw when you’re buying any kind of unregulated product,” Sandke said. For readers to accept that Bix was murdered or at least poisoned by the federal government, they must accept that his health was destroyed by something other than his own alcoholism. Leon B. Beiderbecke. The critic and musician Digby Fairweather sums up Beiderbecke's musical legacy, arguing that "with Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke was the most striking of jazz's cornet (and of course, trumpet) fathers; a player who first captivated his 1920s generation and after his premature death, founded a dynasty of distinguished followers beginning with Jimmy McPartland and moving on … "His hysterical shouts brought me to his apartment on t… With Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his full name, the cause of his death and the importance of his contributions to jazz. Biography - A Short Wiki. Candlelights (A Modern Piano Solo) by Bix Beiderbecke for piano solo, 1930 Digital PDF score + Midi file . He was born to parents Bismark Herman and Agatha Jane Hilton Beiderbecke. “It seems to me there was a definite break in his life from the time he had that breakdown in Cleveland,” Sandke said. You have permission to edit this article. Did he have enemies I didn't know about? His more famous recordings were with his little orchestra, "Bix and his Gang", in 1927. Beiderbecke's health problems could not have been caused simply by drinking a lot. This space takes note of whatever it is I'm interested in at the moment. As it happens, Dr. Frederick J. Spencer, whose book Jazz and Death: Medical Profiles of Jazz Greats presents a physician's take on the same evidence, also argues that this incident did not involve a case of the DTs. The episode left Bix with severe peripheral neuropathy affecting both of his legs and feet as well as chronic pneumonia, which eventually killed him. As a teenager he would sneak off to the banks of the Mississippi to listen to the bands play on the riverboats that would come up from the south. ", Despite Bix’s drinking, Sandke said, “He was able to really maintain this unbelievably high standard of performing all those years until that night.". https://www.thecelebritydeaths.com/bix-beiderbeckes-death-cause-and-date By 1930, it was said that ‘his improvisation ability left him’. It was also said that the cause of his death was But he is by no means a medical authority. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his full name, the cause of his death and the importance of his contributions to jazz. He suffered from headaches, dizziness, blackouts, memory loss and had to use a cane to get around. The British jazz critic Stuart Nicholson caught my attention the other day when he provocatively suggested that Bix Beiderbecke may have been murdered. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his full name, the cause of his death and the importance of his contributions to jazz. Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 -- August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer. The government required that any alcohol manufactured for industrial purposes be denatured according to a certain formula. But Nicholson, in his new book Jazz: A Beginner's Guide, offers a slightly different narrative. It must have been something else, something more. {{start_at_rate}} {{format_dollars}} {{start_price}} {{format_cents}} {{term}}, {{promotional_format_dollars}}{{promotional_price}}{{promotional_format_cents}} {{term}}, Traffic deaths remain same as 2019 in Iowa, WATCH NOW: The vice-presidential motorcade leaves Mason City airport, WATCH NOW: Vice President Pence lands in Mason City, WATCH NOW: An Air Force jet lands in Mason City ahead of Pence visit, WATCH NOW: Day 5 #BlackLivesMatter protest, vigil in Mason City - Thursday, June 4. I think it's clear that Beiderbecke was an addict. The official cause of death was pneumonia and edema of the brain. There is disagreement over whether Beiderbecke was christened Leon Bismark (and nicknamed "Bix") or Leon Bix. then {{format_dollars}}{{start_price}}{{format_cents}} per month. In 1971, on the 40th anniversary of Beiderbecke's death, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival was founded in Davenport, Iowa, to honor the musician. Burnie Beiderbecke claimed that the boy was named Leon Bix[12] and subsequent biographers have reproduced birt… Beiderbecke was one of the most influential white jazz soloists of the 1920s. Was Bix's death caused by alcohol tainted by the federal government? His kidneys and liver didn’t function properly, and he suffered from headaches, dizziness, blackouts, memory loss and had to use a cane to get around, all … Read Bix Beiderbecke's bio and find out more about Bix Beiderbecke's songs, albums, and chart history. Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer. Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s, a cornet player noted for … It was possible because he was not imbibing the high-quality liquor available to us today. In 1971, on the fortieth anniversary of Beiderbecke's death, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival was founded in Davenport, Iowa, to honor the musician. Bix was only 26 years old, but he was a changed man. And they make for tough reading. As for Bix, a breakdown the night of Nov. 30, 1928, in Cleveland, may have been the result of bad alcohol, Sandke said. The episode left him with severe peripheral neuropathy affecting both his legs and feet as well as chronic pneumonia, which eventually killed him. This mysterious event left Beiderbecke, at the age of 25 and a half, with severe peripheral neuropathy affecting his legs and feet, as well as chronic pneumonia, which would ultimately cause his death. Get recommendations for other artists you'll love. (Wendy Hammen of Davenport wears makeup, her mother's wool check suit and feathered velvet hat when she portrays Agatha "Aggie" Beiderbecke, mother of Bix, as she would have appeared in It was there that Bix Beiderbecke died alone on August 6, 1931. The week had been stiflingly hot, making sleep difficult. Dr. Spencer quotes a letter from Beiderbecke to his friend Frank Trumbauer in which Bix complains of how "the poison in my system has settled in my knees and legs. He was just 28 years old. From that point on, until his death at 28, his health continued to decline and his short but brilliant career was virtually over. “While the official cause of Beiderbecke’s death was lobar pneumonia, most historians agree that acute alcoholism was responsible for the decline in his physical and mental health in the last year or so of his life,” the jazz website says. That night, Sandke believes, Bix passed out onstage while performing with Paul Whiteman’s orchestra in the New Music Hall in Cleveland. Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device. Bix suffered from severe pain in his legs and other ill effects of prohibition era alcohol and with declining work around the New York City area, he took a turn for the worse. Prohibition did not stop people from drinking alcoholic beverages. “In that era, plenty of his contemporaries were hard drinkers, and they managed to avoid the kind of tragic end he had,” Sandke said of Bix. For more information about Bix check out the Bix Beiderbecke Resources A Bixography This mysterious event left Beiderbecke, at the age of 25 and a half, with severe peripheral neuropathy affecting his legs and feet, as well as chronic pneumonia, which would ultimately cause his death. And yet nowhere does Spencer—an actual medical authority—suggest that Beiderbecke's symptoms were inconsistent with alcoholism. In 1971, on the fortieth anniversary of Beiderbecke's death, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival was founded in Davenport, Iowa, to honor the musician. Bix Beiderbecke (Leon Beiderbecke), alcoholic seizure in 1931. During the 1920s, he gave the guitar a prominence it previously lacked as a solo instrument, as part of a band or orchestra, and as accompaniment for … His father was nicknamed "Bix", as, for a time, was his older brother, Charles Burnette "Burnie" Beiderbecke. Jazz Age Genius by David R. Bix Beiderbecke was one of the great jazz musicians of the ‘s; he was also a child of the Jazz Age who drank himself to an early grave with illegal Prohibition liquor. Suffering from insomnia, Beiderbecke played the piano late into the evenings, both to the annoyance and the delight of his neighbors. Here, then, is how Nicholson claims this to be murder: People definitely did die—but not because the U.S. government distributed poisoned alcohol. Cause of death: Pneumonia. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his full name, the cause of his death and the importance of his contributions to jazz. Be the first to review this item Amazon Best Sellers Rank: Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. The indisputable facts: On Thursday, Aug. 6, 1931, at 9:30 p.m. Beiderbecke, the great Davenport cornetist, died in New York City. Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer.. Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s, a cornet player noted for an inventive lyrical approach and purity of tone, with such clarity of sound that one contemporary famously described it like “shooting bullets at a bell”. He’s not in the studio not nearly as often as he had before then because of his physical problem. Bix Beiderbecke American jazz musician. While Beiderbecke’s place in the pantheon of jazz greats is secure, Berigan’s is not, even though his career was less truncated. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his true name, the cause of his death, and the importance of his contributions to jazz. I wondered. This is how they made their money, by taking advantage of people like Bix who needed the drink. His research has led him to some fresh conclusions about the case. Cause of death: It was not the government’s intent to kill anyone, Blum points out. His body was shipped back to Davenport for burial. That's the standard accounting of Bix's death, and it hardly suggests murder. Remains: Buried, Oakdale Memorial Gardens, Davenport, IA. The official cause of death was lobar pneumonia and edema of the brain. In 1971, on the 40th anniversary of Beiderbecke's death, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival was founded in Davenport, Iowa, to honor the musician. Birth Chart of Bix Beiderbecke, Astrology Horoscope, Astro, Birthday, Pisces Horoscope of Celebrity. Died: 6-Aug - 1931. You can cancel at any time. Even though the pandemic detoured daily life for much of 2020, it did not bring a drop in the number of people killed in crashes on Iowa roads. The industrial alcohol, as Blum points out, often was stolen by bootleggers and “resold as drinkable spirits.”, What the government did was order the poisoning of industrial alcohols produced in the United States in the hopes it would scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Contact Thomas Geyer at tgeyer@qctimes.com. Burnie Beiderbecke claimed that the boy was named Leon Bix[12] and subsequent biographers have reproduced birth certificates to that effect. Please subscribe to keep reading. The following is a list of notable musicians, from various genres of music, that died of causes unrelated to old age, before the age of 60. Blum writes that while Prohibition went into effect on Jan. 1, 1920, people continued to drink and that by the mid-1920s, the Treasury Department, which oversaw alcohol enforcement, estimated that approximately 60 million gallons of industrial alcohol had been stolen annually by bootleggers to supply the nation’s drinkers. At least more or less. Whatever the success of his subsequent treatment, it's fair to say that Beiderbecke's health never fully recovered, and when he caught pneumonia during the summer of 1931—pneumonia he may have been suffering from even while at Keeley—his immune system couldn't fight it off. Bix Beiderbecke : biography March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931 With all the noise [of a New York pub] going on, I don’t know how they heard themselves, but they did. For while the Beiderbecke sound is filled with joy--and it is hot and it is swinging--it often carries a subtle sadness. And I think it shines a light on the way innocent people were caught up in the middle of a battle between the government and bootleggers. About Bix Beiderbecke Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer. Nevertheless, in the winter 2013 issue of the Journal of Jazz Studies, he published the article "Was Bix Beiderbecke Poisoned by the Federal Government?" From that point on, until his death at 28, his health continued to decline and his short but brilliant career was virtually over. He composed or played on recordings that are jazz classics and standards such as "Davenport Blues", "In a Mist", "Copenhagen", "Riverboat Shuffle", "Singin' the Blues", and "Georgia on My Mind". Blom's own book doesn't say who accused the government of murder, but it strikes me as hyperbole. As a teenager he would sneak off to the banks of the Mississippi to listen to the bands play on the riverboats that would come up from the south. Though his death certificate described the cause of death as pneumonia, and he was in seriously ill health, the circumstances immediately surrounding his death are still unclear. Profession. His compositions like "In a Mist" and "In the Dark" are very advanced for the time. A native of Davenport, Iowa. Born: 10-Mar - 1903. This is the crucial premise of Sandke's—and Nicholson's—argument. "If you listen to his music from that point on, he rallies and he records some great stuff. Here is all you want to know, and more! Died: 6-Aug-1931 Place of Death: Queens, NY Cause of Death: Pneumonia Burial: (not available) Place of … Beiderbecke’s alcoholism ultimately took a toll on his musical ability and on his life. Did I miss something in my research? It turns out that Stuart Nicholson agrees. His kidneys and liver didn’t function properly. Bix did not just one day contract pneumonia and die. He was just 28 years old. The records of his stay can still be found, of all places, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The musician-critic Benny Green sarcastically called Beiderbecke "jazz's Number One Saint," while Ralph Berton compared him to Jesus. During the broadcast, pianist Bert Sloan played Bix’s composition, “In a Mist,” reminding people that Bix also was an accomplished pianist and composer. To quote from Sudhalter and Evans s book Bix. This was a wake-up call to some in Davenport. “I think Bix has gotten a bad rap,” Sandke said in an interview with the Quad-City Times on July 27. It is said that violent alcohol consumption played a factor in his death… While consumable alcohol was banned during Prohibition, there remained a need for industrial alcohol. Birthplace: Davenport, IA. According to the front page article of the Davenport Democrat and Leader, a predecessor of the Quad-City Times, the cause of death was pneumonia. The idea of “denaturing” industrial alcohol was introduced to the United States in 1906, as it had been a practice in Europe. In September of 1929—almost two years before the end—he was admitted to the Keeley Institute, in Dwight, Illinois, the nation's premier alcohol rehabilitation facility. A "Tribute to Bix Beiderbecke" takes place in Kenosha, Wisconsin on the weekend nearest March 10. Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer. Early risers will notice a substantial change in the Quad-City weather picture. 1G, 43-30 46th Street, in Sunnyside, Queens, New York, on August 6, 1931. Died: 6-Aug - 1931. He was 28. “He died, and it was related to his alcoholism.". Whiteman called for a doctor and nurse and ordered Bix back to Davenport. What Sandke thinks is that in Bix's final days, the musician was unlucky enough to have consumed alcohol that was tainted, possibly with methanol, such as wood alcohol, or some other substance. (See, for instance, the New York Times, "Defend Poisons Put into Alcohol," August 11, 1926.). Description. Beiderbecke remains the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his true name, the cause of his death, and the importance of his contributions to jazz. The dates of the festival for 2003, the 100th anniversary of Bix's birth, are 24-27 July. This strikes me as not a very useful point. AKA Leon Bix Beiderbecke. The article as was written: “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”. Discover the real story, facts, and details of Bix Beiderbecke. Eddie Lang (born Salvatore Massaro, October 25, 1902 – March 26, 1933) is known as the father of jazz guitar. The historical Beiderbecke, meanwhile, is the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his true name, his sexual orientation, the cause of his death, and the importance of his contributions to jazz in relation to those of African-American players of the same period. A good Friday to all. There is disagreement over whether Beiderbecke was christened Leon Bismark (and nicknamed "Bix") or Leon Bix. Was someone out to get Bix? That Bix drank alcohol heavily has never been a secret. He composed or played on recordings that are jazz classics and standards such as "Davenport Blues", "In a Mist", "Copenhagen", "Riverboat Shuffle", "Singin' the Blues", and "Georgia on My Mind". Bootleggers distributed that alcohol, and they did so despite the government's repeated warnings that it was poisoned. Denatured alcohol—not alcohol addiction—is what killed Beiderbecke, Nicholson writes. Bix was only 26 at the time. In it, he refers to a breakdown that preceded Beiderbecke's stint in rehab, writing: It seems all too obvious that Beiderbecke's near fatal attack resulted not from prolonged use of alcohol, but rather sudden and acute poisoning caused by substances of far greater toxicity. The episode left Bix with severe peripheral neuropathy affecting both of his legs and feet as well as chronic pneumonia, which eventually killed him. Denaturing alcohol was dangerous for the government to do under these circumstances, and it may have been bad policy and even constituted a public health crisis, but it was hardly a secret. Jazz Age cornetist, pianist, and composer who made a profound impact in spite of his life ending prematurely at age 28. Bix died in 1931. 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