"Just a Little Guy"

by Brad Kay

In his very absorbing interview in the 1944 booklet, Leo McConville said of Bix, "Sure, he usually had a bottle within hailing distance, but don't forget he was just a little guy and wasn't built to take it the way the rest of us were." Also: "He had always been frail, but now was putting on unhealthy weight, which due to his small stature, made him look much changed."

This is news to me. The accumulated impression I have of Bix is that in his prime, he was a hale bloke, about five feet ten, well-built, strong and coordinated, and quite athletic. And that he must have drunk enough for a legion to put himself away at the age of 28. But Leo McConville characterizes Bix as "little," "frail," and "of small stature." How can this be? Was McConville such a physical giant that everybody seemed little to him?

"Frail" conjures up the image of someone slightly built, under 5' 5" in height, and a hundred pounds dripping wet. I doubt that a truly frail person could have produced the amount of sound Bix emitted on his greatest records.

-Brad Kay

Posted on Feb 9, 2012, 6:46 PM

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