The homage to two jazz giants at Flushing Town Hall Saturday was named: “Bix Beiderbeck and Louis Armstrong back home again in Queens.”
Both artists played, lived and died while living in Queens. The influential musicians have been described by trumpeter Randy Sandke as “perhaps the first great soloists in jazz.”
Sandke, a renowned Beiderbeck scholar, said “Satchmo and Bix met first as teenagers while working on riverboats in 1920. They met several times later during their early careers,” and in 1928 “Armstrong stated that he had been digging Bix’s playing in small combos.”
During the program, Sandke noted that “Bix and Louis were trailblazers not only in music but in human relations as well” and that both were born of different circumstances with their music communicating different sensibilities. Yet he pointed out that the two men from dissimilar backgrounds showed that jazz could incorporate significantly different approaches without compromising its soul and vitality.
The question-and-answer period during the evening’s concert was exceptionally informative as Sandke and members of the audience representing the Queens-based “Bix Beiderbeck Jazz Society and the Sydney Bichet Jazz Society” exchanged little known tidbits of information and facts about Armstrong’s and Beiderbeck’s creatively rich early musical history.
The event was also a birthday party for Bix, who was born March 10, 1903.
©2013 Community News Group
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