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Hiromi, Christian Scott at JVC Newport

Bucky Pizzarelli
Bucky Pizzarelli (photo: Alan Nahigian)

A trip to Davenport, Iowa to attend the annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival is as much a pilgrimage and an immersion in the Bix cult as it is a musical event. Each year the faithful gather from around the world-as they have for 35 years now-to pay homage to the legendary cornetist who was laid to rest in Davenport 75 years ago this month. They listen to songs from the 1920s, visit the places Bix knew, take part in late-night jam sessions, share information and recordings and debate biographical details that have intrigued Bix’s fans since his death.

This year’s festival, held July 27-30, featured 11 bands from as far away as New York, England and Australia. There was also a series of panel discussions and presentations on Bix by a group of jazz experts brought to Davenport to help the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society establish a Bix museum and archive. The group included producer/writer George Avakian, photographer Duncan Schiedt, Bix biographer Richard Sudhalter and jazz museum/archive directors Michael Cogswell, Deborah Gillespie, Dan Morgenstern and Bruce Boyd Raeburn.

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