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Preview: The Beiderbecke Affair

The Beiderbecke Affair

Published: 2015-08-28T05:55:42-07:00


Two Jazz Greats, a Balding, Pear-Shaped Cartoonist, and a Midget Convenience-Store Clerk Walk into a Bar


The lead review of last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review considers Beautiful Children, a novel by Charles Bock that introduces readers to a motley lineup of characters. There is, for instance, “a balding, pear-shaped cartoonist, burdened with the name Bing Beiderbixxe, playing Doom-like video games into his 20s and...

Happy Birthday, Bix!


Today would have been Bix Beiderbecke’s 105th birthday. Besides being one of the great soloists in jazz history, Bix is also one of American culture’s most fascinating characters. If, according to yesterday's Washington Post Book World, the poet Homer has become “a legend, not a personage whose life we can...

And from Baseball Back to Jazz Again


As noted previously, Alfred Appel Jr. has died, and Appel wrote a book about jazz in which he mentioned the baseball player Van Lingle Mungo, whose name was so cool that the jazz musician Dave Frishberg wrote a song about it—a song whose lyrics consisted of only the names of...

In Which Bix Beiderbecke Is Burgled!


In The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Janet Malcolm writes: "Biography is the medium through which the remaining secrets of the famous dead are taken from them and dumped out in full view of the world. The biographer at work, indeed, is like the professional burglar, breaking into...

Bix Beiderbecke (The Fake Interview)


The title of my book-in-progress is Finding Bix, and what better place to go looking for the legendary jazz cornetist than in the text of his only known newspaper interview? The unsigned article, headlined "'Jazz Is Musical Humor,' Says Davenport Composer and Cornetist of Whiteman's Band," appeared in the Davenport...

Meet Abbe Niles, the Voice of Bix Beiderbecke


We can argue all day, I suppose -- and some seem to want to -- over the precise circumstances that led to the only known interview of Bix Beiderbecke containing almost no words actually spoken by Bix Beiderbecke. Still, I think it's clear that an anonymous Davenport reporter took a...

Muldaur: Talent and Character Are Not Connected


On May 18, 2009, I sat down with the musician Geoff Muldaur, who in 2003 released Private Astronomy: A Vision of the Music of Bix Beiderbecke. We kicked back on Adirondack chairs facing out into the woods of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Muldaur spent a good chunk of the interview watching...

Muldaur: Rolling Around the Floor in Ecstasy


This is part two of my interview with musician Geoff Muldaur, conducted on May 18, 2009. Brendan Wolfe: You grew up in New York? Geoff Muldaur: Outside of New York. It was the doo-wop thing. The first records I bought were 78s. And then immediately 45s. I was at the...

'To live with a beautiful thing'


I just finished writing a review of The Pen Friend, a new novel by Ciaran Carson of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Carson is one of my favorite writers, and he's been mentioned on these pages a few times (re: Shamrock Tea, for instance, or The Star Factory). But aside from a...

Revealed: Agario Hack & Cheat 2015


Let's talk about the only real working agario hack as of August, 2015. There are many fake ones out there, but one of them stands out. After spending a lot of time testing out various agario hacks and cheats, I have come to conclusion that hack is the only...