top of page

Iowa History Daily: August 7 - The Death of Bix

Iowa History Daily: On August 7, 1931, famed Jazz cornetist Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke of Davenport died. One of the most significant musicians of the 1920s, “Bix” helped to shape the sound of American Jazz in the 20th century.

Born to a German-immigrant mining father and Mississippi riverboat captain’s daughter, Bix first learned music at the First Presbyterian Church of Davenport where his mother played the organ. By the age of seven, local papers reported young “Bix” as a musical prodigy who could play piano tunes by ear upon request.

When his older brother returned from service in World War I with a few jazz records, “Bix” took it upon himself to learn the cornet. Appearing in performances around town and at Davenport High School (where he attended), “Bix” crafted skills which allowed him to shine nationally.

Joining first with Midwestern touring acts and later nationally famed bands including the Detroit-based Jean Goldkette Orchestra and that of Frankie "Tram" Trumbauer, the young musician's compositions resulted in recordings and arrangements for a variety of instruments. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


bottom of page